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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.

Running Through the Pain: Our 10k for RSPCA

By Maria Ward, Account Manager/ Knowledgebase Engineer

On Sunday, 18th September 2016 a 10 member team from Creative Virtual will be running the London Duathlon RunTen in support of RSPCA. I’ll be joining David, Laura, Kristina, Alessandro and Chris (pictured above modelling our official running kit!) and Rachel, Jeff, Andre and Tracey in the 10k taking place in beautiful Richmond Park, the largest of London’s eight Royal Parks. We’ve all been training over the past few months, taking part in our Wednesday Running Club when we can, and fitting our own runs into busy schedules while also working on our fundraising efforts.

My running story over the last year has been somewhat up and down. This time last year I was training for a 6 hour run – The Tolkien run – when disaster struck on a 22 mile training run. A flare up of Morton’s Neuroma meant I could only get about using crutches. I did the 6 hour race, two weeks later, on crutches, and managed to do 23.1 miles. My hands hurt a LOT!  I raised money for Macmillan, a charity chosen by my friend Steven who was undergoing chemotherapy at the time.

Since then I have had periods of limited running (followed by frustrating periods of no running). I’ve run the Brighton Marathon in April on very little training and 10 days later had surgery on my foot to try to rid me of the pesky neuroma that has been blighting my running. That put me out of action for another 6 weeks.

Fast forward to the middle of June and I started to take my first tentative steps back running. They were not easy and not pretty – short, slow and frustratingly hard.

That brings me to the fundraising. Fundraising is hard!! My friends and family often dig deep to support my running endeavours. I’m sure that sometimes they get fed up though! To help my fundraising efforts, I have decided to put some of my artwork up for auction, splitting all money between two charities – RSPCA and Cancer Research. So far I have bids on four of my pieces.

10k for RSPCAAnd finally to the big day, this coming Sunday. I have built up my distance. My speed is not yet back to what it was (but then I’m no spring chicken now!) but I feel ready and am looking forward to a run with my fabulous work colleagues. Skipper, my own furry friend, is a little disappointed he will be staying at home – he’d love to run with us too!

If you haven’t done so already, please consider helping us reach our fundraising goal by sponsoring our 10k team. You can donate through our team JustGiving page or, if you’re in the UK, text CVCV50 and an amount of £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070.

Thanks to everyone who has already donated – we really appreciate your support! We’re proud of the work Creative Virtual has done with RSPCA over the years to help them provide accurate, consistent and readily accessible information to the public (check out RSPCA’s Customer Success Story to learn more), and are excited to have this opportunity to raise money for such a great charity. Go Team Animal!

The Charity Run Season: Our 10k for RSPCA

By Alessandro Giordo, Junior Developer & Support Technician

There are a few months a year in the UK when the sun gets slightly bolder, the city comes to life, and the running shoes come off the shelves. Charity runs, once a complete novelty, are now one of the highlights of the warmer season. There seems to be an unexplainable charity run craze sweeping throughout Europe and the world. Here at Creative Virtual we do not only feel it in the air, but are also inspired to take part and understand why we love them so much.

It is for this reason that we will be participating in RunTen, the London Duathlon’s 10k, on 18th September 2016 to raise money for RSPCA. The 10 kilometres separating us from the finish line will give us a chance to dive deeper into this sweeping phenomenon while having a great time and doing some good. In order to get ourselves ready for September, we’ve stepped up our training and are trying to learn a little more about charity runs.  

Britain has a very long history of charitable giving, with the oldest events dating as far back as the 12th century. Yet, mass funding events like we see today really started only a few decades ago. One of the very first charity walks was held in 1969 in Bismarck, North Dakota, USA. We have come a long way since then, and in 2012, 26,370 running events were held in the US alone.

Psychologists believe charity runs appeal to people so much because individuals drive meaning and value from having to work hard and suffer for their chosen goals. People seem to be willing to donate more when they believe a fundraising event will require exertion.

Yet, could that be really it or is there more to it?

In order to find out more, I interviewed a few other members of the Creative Virtual 10k team. These individuals have been training regularly to prepare for the event and have participated in similar events before. They represent the perfect sample for our project; they are dedicated, motivated, and most importantly, fun.

Question 1: Why do you think charity runs are so popular? What is it that makes running and fundraising so effective?

Andre Matthews (Knowledgebase Engineer) says, “I think people intrinsically find charities impersonal. Even good-willed people who care about the issues of our day want to make sure their money ends up helping someone. These events allow donors to meet people, feel more involved, and build that trust that is so important. The fact that the RSPCA publicly takes part in such events denotes a sense of drive and passion.”

On the other hand, Laura Ludmany (Junior Knowledgebase Engineer) believes that “charity runs have the power to unite large groups of people under a single cause. The fact that people aren’t just giving money, but are actually ‘doing something’ for the organisation, makes them feel more compelled to dedicate their time to the organisation.”

Personally, I love animals and am looking forward to fundraising for RSPCA. I’ve participated in other charity runs before and feel they unite us together for great causes. We enjoy running together as one, knowing that we are going to help animals in need and feeling good about ourselves and what we can do with our lives as adults.

Question 2: Would you think charity runs might appeal to both runners and non-runners alike?

Andre and Laura replied in a similar way stating, “If you are a seasoned runner, there is always the lure of beating a personal record while fighting for a good cause. On the contrary, people who care enough about the cause will train to be able to do it, and even people who feel less strongly about the cause might want to be a part of it in order to reach a personal goal.”

Kristina Kruminyte (Administrative Assistant) added, “If one enjoys running, why not do it for charity? An individual could both do some good and do what he or she loves best. It seems to be a win-win situation. On the other hand, charity runs might represent a motivation to run for people who care about the cause but do not enjoy the physical exercise. These events help people both care for others, and pursue their own personal goals.”

I’ve run three times in my life excluding while playing basketball and being chased by a monkey. I started running to prepare for this year’s marathon and I can’t stop doing it now! For me, this charity run is a great way to indulge my passion for running while supporting a great charity in a fun way.

10k for RSPCAUltimately, it seems like the idea that people derive meaning in striving for something plays a significant role in the popularity of charity runs. Here at Creative Virtual we’ve been training both on our own, as well as with a group run every Wednesday, and are eagerly looking forward to the event. As a company full of animal lovers, we’re excited to be running in support of RSPCA and raising much needed funds for the amazing work they do with animals.

We have a team of 10 runners – Andre, Laura, Kristina and I will be joined by Chris, Rachel, Jeff, Maria, David, and Tracey. Our goal is to raise £1,000 for this very worthy charity. Please sponsor us by visiting our team JustGiving page or, if you’re in the UK, text CVCV50 and an amount of £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070.

Thank you for your support! Watch this space for more updates as we get closer to race day.