Each year since 2011,Lou Mick – Wasps and Moody Cows Rugby player and Project Manager – has been raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support by completing gruelling challenges; including but by no means limited to, The London Marathon, 3 Peaks Challenge and a White Collar Boxing Fight.
This September she embarks on a Coast to Coast Marathon, 180 miles – the equivalent of seven marathons in seven days, across the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North Yorkshire Moors. She’s looking to raise £3000 for Macmillan Cancer Support. For more information feel free to email – firstname.lastname@example.org.
What made you decide to run a marathon over another type of challenge?
I ran a London Marathon in 2012, and I’ve done something for Macmillan every year since. So this year I wanted to do a challenge that was really going to push myself, harder than the previous challenges. I was going to do the coast to coast challenge, which is where you cycle the distance. It’s been on my list for ages as something I’ve wanted to do; but, though it would be a challenge and it would hurt, I could do it. It wasn’t going to be a case of pushing myself that far out of my comfort zone. So I decided that I would run it.
What makes you motivated? More specifically, what pushes you to push yourself harder?
I want to be able to look back in ten years and think “God that was awesome”; but the main reason I’m doing this is for Macmillan, to raise awareness and funds. The more money I can raise for them, the bigger difference it will make. I’ve found that the bigger the challenge you do, the more people will sit up and look at it. They’ll think ‘Oh God, what are you doing? Yeah, I’ll sponsor you for that.’ Macmillan are my chosen charity; they always have been, they always will be.
What support have you received so far?
I’m running with different people on different days, meaning different journeys each day. The two friends I’m running with on the first day have their own connections to Macmillan. One of them, her mum found out three months ago that she’s been diagnosed with cancer. Another, her dad died when she was young because of cancer. On the last day, day seven, I’m running with my friend who has been a massive support for me for many years – so I’m going to have a great journey with her. Another friend has chosen the longest day, but he’s cycling it. I told him “I think you’ve got the harder job, mate”.
How have you prepared for this challenge? Both mentally and physically?
I’ve been going through waves of completely different emotions and thoughts about it. I’m not a runner at all. I’ve done similar challenges, but I plodded when I did the marathon. I’m a front row rugby player so I don’t do any kind of footwork I just plod. Once I’d made my mind up, I spoke to my friends, I spoke to my mum and dad and other people close to me, who all said “You’re nuts but we’ll support you.” So then I thought “Oh Good God, what have I done?” It changed quickly to “Right, how am I physically going to prepare for this?” Since then, I’ve had to run everywhere. If I go to meet with friends I’ll ask if I can use their shower and take a bag because I’m going to run there. I run down to the rugby club on a Sunday. I’ve been to friends for dinner, and whilst they’re cooking I go out for an hour and run. It is a case of preparing your body for the constant endurance. For this challenge, I’ll be running all day for seven days. I’m preparing my body for the repetitive movement on my hips, on my quads, on every part of my body. Someone I know did seven marathons in seven days, and he did them in different counties; so I’ve been asking him for advice. He said “you can run as much as you want in your training, but the mental challenge will be the hardest part.” He said the fact that I’ve got someone with me running on my journey is a massive bonus. It’ll be like a separate journey each day. For me, what it comes down to is just that I dig deep, know that I’ve been through worse and that other people are going through worse and know that I’m doing it for all the right reasons. That this challenge could make a huge difference to someone’s family.
If you were going to give advice to someone who was going to do a similar challenge for a similar cause, what would it be?
Once you’ve made the decision, just back yourself. Ask people for support, ask people for advice. Ask people to join you. You’ve got it upstairs to actually do it, and people will give you the support.
To donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/Lou-Mick-and-Moodies
Follow Lou’s Journey on Facebook – Coast to Coast Marathons – 7 in 7