पोस्ट

Training for the Virgin Sport 10k for RSPCA

By Maria Ward, Account Manager/ Knowledgebase Engineer

On Sunday, 15 July 2018 I’ll be joining nine other runners from Creative Virtual – Rachel, Andre, Dinah, David, Chloe, Tracey, Emma, Chris and Steve – for the Virgin Sport Westminster 10k. We’re running to raise money for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). I trained for and ran the London Marathon on 22 April, so you would think that the 10k distance would not be an issue. Wrong!!!

Excuse Number 1: I suffered quite badly with blisters, the worst of which was the size of a planet (a small planet, you understand – like Pluto rather than Jupiter) on the ball of my foot! Walking was excruciating for many days let alone running!

Excuse Number 2: A two-week holiday and all the excesses that accompany it, and only two pitiful runs (during which my planet-sized blister re-opened) left me a good few pounds heavier and with considerably reduced fitness level.

Excuse Number 3: Post holiday blues led to post holiday binge-eating.

But enough of the excuses! The first few post marathon/ holiday runs have been hard. Legs so heavy it felt like gravity had been turned up a notch. Lungs struggling to supply my muscles with oxygen. Every step a thud and no bounce in sight.

10k for RSPCAWith just over a month to go, my foot is allowing me to run up to around 5 miles. I am now going to concentrate on trying to get that spring back in my feet in the hope that I can get somewhere close to my 10k personal best on race day. The rest of the team are stepping up their training too, going for group runs after work when possible, and we’re all reporting our progress on our group chat.

As for the fundraising, I have put some of my weird doodles up for sale (and some people have actually bought a couple!). We’re also selling old monitors from the office with all the proceeds going towards the RSPCA and using cute pictures of puppies to encourage our friends and family to donate.

This is the fourth time a group of Creative Virtual runners are doing a 10k in support of the RSPCA, and we’re excited to be raising money for such a worthy cause. You can sponsor us through our team JustGiving page or, if you’re in the UK, text CVUK55 with an amount of £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070.

Mad Dogs and English People Go Out in the Noonday Sun… (and then some!)

By Rachel Freeman, Operations Director

Even 3 full days after London’s “hottest” marathon on record all of our legs still ache a tad. We’re part of those 40,000+ special (stupid?) runners who braved the heat and intense sunshine to conquer 26.2 miles.

Myself, Chris Ezekiel and Maria Ward were at the start line in Greenwich on April 22nd with varying expectations and high hopes for raising money for our selected charities. Whilst our virtual agents speak on behalf of their “owners”, I will not speak for my colleagues apart from that they ran superb runs in adverse conditions and raised money for Jewish Care and Marie Curie Hospice respectively. They both achieved personal bests at 3.43 and 4.04 and deserve a lot of kudos.

I am made of lesser athletic stuff and whilst I intended to simply “sub-5” and raise money for the RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People), the heat got the better of me and my keen sense of self-preservation kicked-in advising myself to walk/run after mile 13 as I felt as if I would faint soon after Tower Bridge. I “achieved” a PW (personal worst) at 5.30 but was delighted to have finished with a smile on my face and feeling fine – bar one blood blister and a bit of chafing on the arms due to the charity vest.

RNIB London MarathonThe atmosphere was wonderful – people lined most of the streets screaming our names as seen ironed on our vests. It was a perfect day to be a spectator – but not as optimal for the runners. Water stations were often jammed and I took full advantage of every shower and hose pointing our way. I’ve never had as much to drink at any race!

The route took us right through Canary Wharf and familiar territory for Creative Virtual marathoners due to various regular routes we took on post-work runs. I wasn’t exactly tempted to take a detour and visit the office, but I did give the office a thought as I ran down Cabot Square. We each had our own sights of crazy costumes but the ones notable to me were a suit of armour, several rhinos, a woman on stilts and a man dressed in full Victorian garb.

We all did it! The times varied widely but we all shared a commitment to finish and raise funds which was well accomplished. Yet… there is no rest for the wicked and trainer lacing starts again soon:

On July 15th, Chris, Maria and myself will join 7 more Creative Virtual team members (Andre, Dinah, David, Chloe, Tracey, Emma and Steve) to run the Virgin Sport British 10K through the centre of London in support of the RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) – one of our favourite charities.

10K QuarkWe aim to raise £1,000 and hit the London streets that are so much a part of the soul of Creative Virtual HQ. This will be the fourth time a team of runners from Creative Virtual will take part in a 10k to raise money for the RSPCA.

Stay tuned for training and fundraising updates. You can sponsor us through our team JustGiving page or, if you’re in the UK, text CVUK55 and an amount of £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070.

Congratulations again to Maria and Chris on their impressive marathon runs and a big thank you to everyone who sponsored and supported me. I’m excited to turn my attention to the 10k in July. Go Team Animal!

The British 10k and Pie in the Face for the RSPCA

By Chris Ezekiel, Founder & CEO

We did it! Our five-member team from Creative Virtual – Rachel, Tracey, Alex, Kristina and myself – completed the British 10k on Sunday, 9th July 2017. We raised over £1,000 for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). It was an incredible feeling afterwards, but I must say, it was the toughest 10k race I’ve ever done. At 9:30am when the race started the sun was shining bright and it was very hot! The water and shower stations around the course were very much welcomed!

At least the weather was good for the spectators! It was a good fun day, with music and cheering. I love this particular run as it covers some great London landmarks – and it’s so nice seeing them with no traffic (well, it’s hard to take a lot in when you’re running and panting! – but it’s still nice).

And it was nice to soak up the sunshine afterwards as we strolled around London proudly wearing our medals.

The British 10k

To assist with the fundraising efforts, Rachel, Liam and myself foolishly agreed to be on the receiving end of a sponsored pie throwing event at our UK summer party. They say I cheated, but I reckon I just have better reflexes! 🙂

A big thanks to everyone who helped us exceed our fundraising target.

You can still sponsor us by donating through our 10K JustGiving page or by sending a text if you are in the UK to 70070: CVCV50 and an amount of £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10.

Thanks for all of your support – Go Team Animal!

Fundraising for RSPCA

Mission Accomplished: Our 10k for RSPCA

By Maria Ward, Account Manager/ Knowledgebase Engineer

We did it! I’m proud to report that on Sunday, 18th September Alessandro, Tracey, Chris, David, Jeff, Kristina, Andre, Rachel and I completed the RunTen 10k in support of RSPCA!

Race day finally arrived after all our training and preparation, and we’d arranged to meet in Richmond Park at 8:15 am. Everyone had their own personal goals in mind, and I was no different with a goal of finishing in under 50 minutes. I was beginning to feel a little nervous!

After some mandatory photos, we joined the queue for the start of the race. Participants were set off in batches of around 50 to avoid overcrowding and this worked really well.  It meant there wasn’t the usual start-of-race scramble.

Soon we were ready at the start line, listened to a safety announcement and then we were off! Chris very quickly took the lead. I’d have liked to keep up with him, but I knew that if I over-exerted at the beginning, I would have faded at the end.

The course was fabulous, running though the grounds of Richmond Park, a large herd of deer in the distance on the left looking on and wondering what was going on. As the kilometre markers passed, I remember thinking it will be good to get past 5 and be over halfway. I was pushing really hard and can honestly say I couldn’t have run faster. I was at the “I need to stop and walk now” stage for most of the race.

At one part of the course you doubled back on yourself and this is where Chris gave me a shout out. I was in the zone at that time and only just noticed him! A little further on I caught sight of David who was looking strong.

I reached the 8 kilometre marker and knew I was on the homeward straight now. I pushed as hard as I could – I wanted a strong finish and, as 9 kilometres passed, I tried to hold the pace for the last kilometre. The course changed from footpath to grass which was quite uneven so more difficult to run but I knew the finish was close. I turned the corner, could see the finish and sprinted across the line (maybe “sprinted is the wrong word!), breathing so hard I could not speak!

chris maria 10kAs I collected my medal, water and banana, I heard Chris shout out to me. He must have crossed the line a while ago because he was able to speak! When I checked my Strava, the time read 48:43, and I was so pleased to have got under 50 minutes. I hadn’t stopped it immediately so knew my chip time would be faster. Chris and I chatted (once I got my breath back!) while we waited for the others to finish their races.

As each team member crossed the finish line, everyone was rightfully happy with their achievement. Andre and Alessandro both completed their first 10k race with great times. Tracey achieved a personal best by shaving several minutes off of her last 10k time. Rachel impressed herself and us by finishing well under her personal goal and with no pain despite dealing with plantar fasciitis since mid-May. Chris finished his 10k in an impressive 45:43 – a new personal best for him too! – and my official finish time was 47:01. Jeff even managed to look like he was floating through the air as he waved at one of the official race cameras during his run!

We were also thrilled to discover at the end of the race that the team had reached our fundraising target, and we went for a celebratory coffee! It was a fabulous day, spent with great people raising funds for a very worthy cause. I can’t wait for the next one! Well done Team Animal!

A big thank you to everyone who sponsored our team! There’s still time to donate if you haven’t done so yet, either through our team JustGiving page or, if you are in the UK, text CVCV50 and an amount of £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070.