Mike Sewell, chair of the Batemans Trust and managing director of Cambridge-based communications agency CPL, explains why he has taken on a marathon challenge.
On Sunday May 25, I will be running my first-ever marathon in Edinburgh. Unsurprisingly, quite a lot of people have asked why I’m doing it – so here’s five of my reasons.
It’s for a cause that’s close to my heart
In 2006 my family spent a year volunteering for the Batemans Trust in Chennai, south India. We had a true once-in-a-lifetime experience, not least my three children who picked up a bit of Tamil and experienced the joy of going to school in a four-seater rickshaw crammed with eight people. More importantly, our eyes were opened to the way Batemans’ work helps to transform the lives of youngsters from some of Chennai’s poorest and most disadvantaged communities. The training has been hard but, without wishing to sound too trite, it would have been a whole lot harder if I hadn’t been able to draw on my own experiences to remind myself what it was all for.
I wanted to run a marathon before I’m 50
My fellow CPL directors Mark and Jonathan sometimes refer to me as TSTO – the“tall, skinny, tense one” – and they have a point. I’m the right build for long-distance running and have always thought I’d run a marathon at some stage. But coming to it without having run more than three miles in one go for about 30 years, the training has been rather harder than I’d expected.
I really don’t like losing to my brother
25-plus years ago my brother David, who is 11 years older than me, ran the London Marathon in 3hrs 23mins. When I signed up for Edinburgh I’d hoped that I might be able to beat that time – but since I’ve started training, I’ve accepted that this ambition is naïve at best. Whether or not I decide to run another marathon may depend on how close I get to his time this time round.
It’s (sort of) fun training with my son (and my dog)
My 13-year-old son Ollie sometimes runs with me. In principle, this is a good thing. But, annoyingly, he’s quite a good runner so it can be dispiriting to have him casually chatting all the way round while I struggle to keep up. The dog is rather more sympathetic, although I doubt Mo Farah has to carry poo bags during training.
I wasn’t meant to be doing it alone
Last December, my friend Patsy and I promised to run our first-ever marathons in 2014, and Edinburgh is the result. Patsy trained really hard and was on target to record a great time until, sadly, she injured herself a couple of weeks ago – leaving me to run the race solo. Having said that, she’s already helped to raise thousands of pounds for Batemans and will definitely be running a marathon within the next 12 months – and, depending on how Edinburgh goes – I may join her.
The Batemans Trust is CPL’s official charity and, over the past few years, the company has provided Batemans with thousands of pounds worth of pro bono support.
Support Mike’s marathon efforts by donating here: www.justgiving.com/patsyandmikemarathon