New Year New Challenge – #amigurumicharityrun
This is quite an exciting announcement for me I have never done anything like this. Excuse the length of this post but it’s worth it I promise it just wasn’t practical to split it as it will be referred to throughout the year.
As always at the backend of the year you start thinking of your goals and hopes for the following year. December 2016 was no different. As someone who runs for himself my primary motivation is just that I enjoy running and especially longer distances. I don’t really race due to my personal and geographical circumstances. Those of you that have followed me for the past year know I’ve had injury and illness issues. I finished the year only running around 2000km which is around 1000/1500 less than I would normally run. Now that I was over these issues I was thinking of ways to push myself in 2017. Running is a lot about habit the habit of getting out there the problem with injury and illness is it has a habit of breaking the habit (too may habits me thinks?)
Those of you who have seen the previous posts and my recent Instagram will have seen Buddy the Elf’s adventures. I had great fun running with him and taking the photos and it was a great motivation to keep me running everyday. So anyway it got me thinking, one of my wife’s Christmas presents was Marvel and Star Wars Crochet Kits which had amigurumi patterns for the characters. These characters are around 7cm in height so I thought how great it would be to take a picture of them on my runs. As they are pretty small they would also be easier to carry than Buddy. I had already decided to run the whole of the winter everyday so I thought I’d run the whole year, with that plus December would make 396 consecutive days. However I would increase the challenge to a minimum of 5k a day (in December the minimum was 2k) as I felt this would be good for me and still a manageable given I am running every day without any rest days. As I have some other challenges planned for the year there will be days I run more than 5K, as well as I like to run longer distances so at least once a week I’ll be running further.
It was great to see others enjoying following along with the December challenge and enjoying seeing Buddy having his adventures. It was people enjoying the pictures and the crochet kits that my Wife got this Christmas that made us come up with a new challenge. Rosie (my Wife) then came up with the idea that as people enjoyed watching the daily photos of Buddy that maybe we could do this new challenge we had come up with and raise money for charity. As I mentioned above, I will run every day for this year for a minimum of 5K and often I will be running further than this, this time though it won’t be Buddy accompanying me it will be a Amigurumi character from Star Wars or Marvel.
What I liked about this idea was Rosie’s input. Those of you that follow me normally may know this, but for those that don’t Rosie is disabled and severely long term ill. She has been totally bedbound for over 5 years (and ill for 15 years or so). When I say bedbound I mean bedbound, she is unable to walk (or weightbear), sit up unaided and is in her bed 24 hours a day many times in too much pain to move. Our ambition this year is to be able to hoist Rosie into a chair and get her to sit in it for a few minutes. Sounds small but it’s a big thing. We would love for her to be able to sit in her powered wheelchair and go around the house a bit but that’s jumping ahead of ourselves. The chair is the first goal. I tell you this because one of the things that she has discovered that she can do is Crochet. It can take her longer than some people but it is a thing that feeds her creative mind and perfectionism and has been a bit of a saviour to her. So anyway Rosie has always loved the pictures and videos I take when running, you might think seeing them could make her sad but she loves to see the outside world of this lovely place we live and it gives her hope. So by taking one of her creations with me I am taking some of her with me and she is involved and almost running with me. So that and raising some money for two worthwhile charities makes this a very special running year for me.
So you now know the main idea of this but there’s more. As they say the Devil (or maybe the Sci-fi geek) is in the detail. Rosie (known as bedcrafter) was more than happy to make characters, after all it was both of us that came up with this idea. We decided upon making a character each month and during that month hopefully we could raise some money for charity by people enjoying what they see and donating. Rosie the institute of brilliant idea’s that she is then came up with another one, to raffle off the Amigurumi Character each month. She thought if people loved following along with their daily adventures they might love the chance to win the character at the end of it. So another great way that we can hopefully help out the charities we have chosen, and this raffle will take place during the last week of every month.
This will be my first time running for charity and I know Rosie is really excited about it as well as she loves making for charity when she can and loves the idea that the characters each month go to a new home . Rosie plans on making most of these Amigurumi Characters where possible with one of her favourite yarns, a lovely British yarn company called Three Bears Yarn that produces high quality cotton yarns. To me yarn is yarn but Rosie tells me this is one of the best out there and I know she loves working with it. She works mainly with cotton and Buddy the Elf was made from this yarn too, and you’ll be happy to know he stood up well to his adventures and still looks excellent. As I mentioned earlier all the characters will be from Star Wars or Marvel and we hope this will be something you will enjoy, especially having the chance to win the Amigurumi Character each month and help out a great charity at the same time.
Now I have shared how we came up with this year challenge I thought it was time to share more detailed information that you might like to know before being happy to donate. If you have any questions that we have not covered please ask and we will do our best to answer them, and if there is anything you’d like to see this year then feel free to tell us and if we can do it we will!
I will run a minimum of 5K every day starting from the 1st of January until the 31st of December 2017, with an Amigurumi Character made by my wife Rosie (bedcrafter).
There will be days that I run further than this, whether it’s because I am doing a longer run or I am taking part in an event or personal challenge. I have several events and personal challenges planned this year, and during these I will still be running with the Amigurumi Character it will just be a longer adventure. I am planning on taking part in a few local events this year, due to my location their aren’t many opportunities but any that I see I will do my best to join. I see this as a great chance to hopefully raise awareness and some more money for the charities we have chosen. Also as a bit of an introvert it may do me good!
As well as local events I am planning some personal challenges, for example a run to swim where I will run to Stromness, swim for a certain amount of time/length and then run back to Kirkwall. I also hope to include some island hopping, it will be great to run some of the smaller islands around Orkney and of course this is one of the challenges the official Traildog can take part in.
Where possible the official trial dog (Myka) will be running along side me and helping me during this challenge. The amount of challenges I take part in will depend on my responsibilities caring for Rosie and ensuring she is cared for while I do them.
Of course, as I nearly forgot the obvious (silly me!) part of the challenge is posting photos on social media every day with the photos I have taken during the run with the Amigurumi character from each month. The main place to see these daily photos is my instagram account but there will also be a copy on my Facebook page and twitter. All posts will have the following hashtag as part of this challenge #amigurumicharityrun Oh and there will be raffle during the last week of the month to win the Amigurumi Character I have been running with too!
Charities I’m fundraising for and why
We have chosen the following charities for this year’s challenge; Unicef UK and Support Dogs Ltd. Here is some basic information about them. I will be sharing some of their stories throughout the coming months
Unicef UK – For 70 years we have been there for children in danger. Unicef was created in 1946 to help protect children after World War 2 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is the basis of all of our work. Today we’re still helping children in some of the world’s most dangerous places. (wording from their website)
For more details on their work see their website here.
Why we’ve chosen Unicef: As we live in a troubled time at present with various conflicts around the world it is a time when sadly an organisation like UNICEF is needed more. Whatever your politics or opinions on these various conflicts everyone must agree how important to protect those most vulnerable in this world. For those reasons I thought it important that I try and do something for UNICEF at this time.
We hope to include some photos here for Unicef, but are awaiting to hear back from them on what we can use/they can provide to us.
Support Dogs – Support Dogs is a national charity (Mainland UK) dedicated to increasing independence and quality of life for people with various medical conditions. We provide, train and support specialist assistance dogs to achieve this. We provide help with everyday tasks for people with physical disabilities, give advance warning of seizures for people with epilepsy and provide safety and support for children with autism and their families.
Autism Assistant Dogs – Our autism assistance programme is life changing for both the child with autism and their family. Autism Assistance Dogs are trained to provide safety and to facilitate a more independent and socially inclusive life for both the child with autism and their family. For Children 3-10 years old.
Disability Assistance Dogs – Support Dogs’ aim is to improve the quality of life and independence of people with a wide range of physical disabilities by training their own pet dog as a Disability Assistance Dog.
Seizure Alert Dogs – Seizure Alert Dogs are trained to provide a 100% reliable warning up to 50 minutes prior to an oncoming seizure. They give time for their owner to find a place of safety and privacy as they have their seizure. Support Dogs is the only organisation in the UK to provide and train Seizure Alert Dogs.
Support Dogs fully rely on donations to provide their services, unfortunately due to high demand and extensive waiting lists they are not currently accepting any new applications. Donations are crucial for them to keep doing the work they are doing and to be able to offer more help to those needing their services.
To find out more about this charity and the work they do see their website here.
Why we’ve chosen Support Dogs? When we thought Rosie was going to be a wee bit better we researched Support Dogs. We were impressed that they would be willing to train your own dog as an assistance dog, which means many shelter dogs enjoy a life of helping their humans and other dogs too of course! We were considering getting Myka (the official Traildog) on their program and support dogs were a charity that were willing to support us despite our location. However as Rosie’s condition declined we knew this was not an option. We are though excited to fundraise for them as their services are always needed and at present they are limited due to the lack of funds. The official Traildog is so excited to help also.
How we hope to raise money for charity?
We hope that you will enjoy the daily photos that are taken during the run of the Amigurumi character from that month, and that you like what you see and would like to donate some money to the charity we are representing that month.
We are also holding a raffle during the last week of each month, for a chance to win the Amigurumi character that you have been seeing that month. We will announce via social media and our blogs when the raffle starts and a link to enter, this will be a just giving page as well and separate one will be created for this purpose each month so please don’t try to enter through the general donation pages as this wont count.
It’s through the daily photos, that we hope you will enjoy and hopefully be happy to share along the way that will raise awareness and some money for the two charities we have chosen. Of course we hope that the raffle is also successful and will be something you will enjoy.
Nearly forgot, I will also be doing some public events throughout the year although due to my location there aren’t as many opportunities. I am hoping to attend the Kirkwall Half Marathon and the Birsay Marathon and if you would like to you can sponsor me during these events. I will also be doing some personal challenges as well, which you can sponsor me for too if you like.
How can I support you? / Where do I go to donate?
You can follow the daily photos during the year, we appreciate any likes and shares as this can help to spread the word of what we are doing. Even if your unable to donate just by enjoying the posts, liking them and sharing where possible can make a difference.
If you enjoy what you see and would like to donate below are links to our Just Giving Fundraising Pages. Please choose the charity we are raising for that month, thank you.
Month’s we are fundraising for them are; January, March, May, July, September and November.
Support Dogs ltd
Month’s we are fundraising for them are; February, April, June, August, October and December.
Amigurumi Charity Run Raffle
Please note that we cannot include the link for the raffle, as these have to be set up each month but to find the link for this month’s raffle (only available during the last week of each month) please either go to the homepage of my blog and find the post for the raffle (will be clearly labelled as such) or via any of my social media accounts as we will share the link’s there each month too. If possible we will also include the link as an update on the just giving pages above.
Would you like to see my running log? Every time I go out running I use a watch that tracks where I go, the distance I do etc and this means you can check out what I am doing if you would like too. This means you can see that I am doing the running I say I am every day and of course during events and personal challenges that I will also be doing this year as part of this over all challenge. It’s easy to view and you don’t need to be a member to see it, as it’s viewable to the public. Of course if you are a runner and a member of this site feel free to follow me and I would love to follow you back in return.
I would suggest checking out my Running Stats page as your first go too, as if you look at the second graphic you can see it will mention the last few runs and the details of those which is more clear than there website. If you go to the website link I gave you above, at first it can be a little confusing however if you go down the page to the blue graph chart you will see underneath that it will show you my runs from that week. You can see more if you select the monthly box under the graph, you will then see more runs mentioned below.
If you need any more help please don’t hesitate to ask, as I am happy to help in any way that I can as I know the Strava site can be confusing to those who don’t use it themselves.
As you know this is a daily challenge for this year, and I will be running a minimum of 5K every day however there might be some circumstances during the year that are unavoidable. If I do happen to fall ill or get an injury this is obviously out of my control and I cannot put my health at risk, obviously this won’t be used as an excuse and I truly hope this does not happen and that I can run every single day without a problem but it’s silly of me not to mention what I will do if it does.
The challenge will not be over and I wouldn’t see it a failure either which I hope you will agree with. If I get ill or get an injury that stops me from being able to run and would put my health at risk if I did, all I will do is wait and recover. As soon as I am able to run again I will do so, and I will strive to keep any downtime to a minimum but at the same time look after my health. Should this situation occur I will of course keep you updated and hopefully it wouldn’t be long until I can continue on!
The Amigurumi Raffle – The prize on offer is the Amigurumi Character that I have run with during that month, however I do realise that due to the nature of this challenge there could be times when the character could get damaged/not be in a suitable condition. Hopefully most of the time this shouldn’t be the case, as for example Buddy the Elf faired really well but these characters I am running with are smaller and it all depends on the weather and situation. Should we feel that the Amigurumi character is not in a fair enough condition for the raffle, we will still offer the original as part of the raffle so you still get to see and hold the one you saw featured in all those photos however we will also include another for you (exact duplicate) to enjoy as display purposes etc. This is at our discretion but should you be unhappy with the condition of your prize please come and talk to us. Photos included during the Raffle will show the character in the current condition and please remember that part of the idea and charm of this, is that you are getting an Amigurumi character that has been on some adventures.
These are not suitable for children and are designed for display purposes only. Further details on how the character was made and what was used will be mentioned in the raffle, so any safety hazards will be clearly mentioned.
Can I donate if I am not in the UK?
Yes you can, as long as you have a credit or debit card. For more details see this page on just giving.
Can I join in with the raffle to win the Amigurumi Character if I’m not in the UK?
Yes you can, we don’t want to exclude anyone. We are currently working out the postage costs for outside of the UK, as it will be free postage within the UK. We will do our best to keep the postage free if we can and if this isn’t possible we will keep the costs as low as possible. Further details will be included in the first Raffle and once known this section will be updated.
I’d like to talk to you, how do I get in touch?
I have a contact form on my blog here, which you can also see via my homepage under my title header. If you would like to get in touch with Rosie (my wife) you can pop over to her blog where she has a contact section too.
If you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to ask, either contact me privately or comment below this post and I will reply as soon as I can.
Our Social Links
Below are the links to my places online and my wife Rosie, you will see the main activity of this challenge via my links (i.e this is where the daily photos are posted) and you’ll also see some on Rosie’s as well (i.e she’ll share the Amigurumi character she makes each month and blog about it, and the raffle).
My blog (which your currently viewing)
Rosie’s links are below, she is often known as Bedcrafter.
Well I think that is everything, if you would like to know anything else we haven’t mentioned please ask and we will do our best to help. We hope you will enjoy following along this year and supporting the charities in whatever way you can, it doesn’t matter how small the donation is as every penny counts (as they say!). Next up I will be setting up a monthly page to share the photos taken during that month, as we thought you might enjoy being able to see them all in one place as well so watch this space!
D and Rosie