February 23, 2013

Running for Books, Buildings and a Brighter Future

Yes, this post might not seem to have a lot to do about running but PLEASE take 10 minutes of your time to read it - a child in Ghana will say THANK YOU if you do, and there are some GREAT draw prizes on offer....


All my running, which I do a reasonable amount of, is a rather selfish task.  And while we all have our selfish lives, it seems the way of the Western world these days, of spending much of our free time being able to do what we want and have chosen to do, not everyone in the world does.

I live in a country where I took the fact that I would be well fed, well clothed and well educated for granted.  Never was there a concern that I didn't have clean water to drink or a desk to sit at at school.

This spring I am extremely lucky to be able to make not one but two trips to South Africa to race, to do what I love to do, compete at Two Oceans 56km and Comrades 89km.  So I have decided to tie into these trips a fundraising effort for a school in Ghana, to try make my running more meaningful.  There are quite literally thousands of good causes out there so...

Why have I decided to raise funds for Dekpor School Development Organisation (DSDO)?

- The founder, Linda, who lives in Ghana, is the mum of a friend of mine here in Vancouver, so it's a cause I know is well run by a small group of passionate people.

- My friends Jess and Bill recently got married in Ghana, they have been there themselves and have seen the good work done on the ground.

- DSDO is a very small and very efficient cause.  They are really in need of funds and their administrative costs are kept to an absolute minimum (when I made a donation last year I was emailed my tax receipt 'to save on the cost of a stamp') meaning that money raised really will go to help kids in Ghana.  When Linda was recently visiting Vancouver a call went out in the running community for used sports water bottles so she could take them back in her luggage - no costs of buying new bottles or shipping them out, more leg work but more efficient use of resources.

School children in Dekpor

So what does Dekpor School Development Organisation do?

Their mission is to support Dekpor Basic School's students, teachers and community through the funding of building, repairing and upgrading structures, through the support of teachers and students by volunteer efforts on site, through the individual sponsorship of teachers to enrich the education of many students, through the individual sponsorship of students to assist them in furthering their education, and other projects that will better the ability of Dekpor residents to achieve success.

In 2012 they sponsored 21 students and 8 teachers, they got 57 students on the food program, covered 56 children with health insurance, started a small computer lab, repaired some of the schools structure and much much more.  It sounds all so basic - but that is why this work is all the more important.

Kindergarten children learning outside.

How YOU can help?

I am aiming to raise as much as possible between now and time time I run Comrades on June 3rd.

Donations can be made in all currencies by PayPal or credit card by the link on the page under 'Please Donate' here. I think you can enter my name on the 2nd page so they know where the funds have come from, but if not - no worries - at least they'll get your donation!

How Much should I donate?

As much as possible!  Skip your daily Starbucks for a week and donate $25!  Skip your Starbucks for a month and donate $100!

- $150 will buy a child breakfast AND lunch for a whole year.

- 130 notebooks cost $50, as does one school desk + chair.

- Even if you don't know me personally, please still donate - this really is an excellent cause.

- Those who donate $25 or more will be emailed an official tax receipt (issued quarterly).

Learning without paper, let alone computers!

A Little Incentive to Donate

Many of my fantastic sponsors have jumped on board to offer draw prizes to those who donate minimum $25 or minimum $50.  Draw prizes are listed below and in order to be in with a chance to win please donate minimum $25 or $50 via the link AND email me at dekpordonation@yahoo.com with your name, address, country of residence and how much you donated.  I will draw the lucky winners in early June and announce winners then.  Draw prizes are random, i.e. no requests for specific items, and some  prizes are only available for certain countries of residence.  One item listed below per donation.  Those who donate $50 or more will have a chance to win prizes listed in both the $25 and the $50 list, those who donate $25 to $49 will have the chance to win prizes in the $25 list only.

Minimum $25 donation (or £15, or other currency equivalent)

- Mountain Hardwear ball cap (6 available) (all countries) or...
- 2 pairs of Drymax socks (5 packages available) (US/ Canada only) or ...
- 1 box of Clif bars (12 bars) (US/ Canada only) or ...
- 1 pair of Sundog Eyewear sunglasses (2 available) (all countries) or ...
- 1 bottle (941ml) of Udo's Oil 3.6.9 blend (4 available) (US/ Canada only)
- 1 x Petzl Tikka XP 2 headlamp (all countries)

Minimum $50 donation (or £30, or other currency equivalent)

- 1 Mountain Hardwear Effusion jacket (Canada only) or ...
- 1 Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer jacket (Canada only) or ...
- 1 pair of CEP quad compression sleeves (Canada only) or ...
- 1 pair of CEP compression shorts (Canada only) or ...
- 1 pair of CEP compression socks + 1 pair of Yurbuds headphones (2 packages available) (Canada only)

That's a total of 25 prizes available!

For more info

- Have a look at Dekpor School Development Organisations website by clicking here.

- 'Like' them on Facebook to keep up to date with their news by clicking here.


Thank you SO much in advance for your donation, I truly appreciate it as will DSDO and the Ghanian children who will benefit.

Please spread the word and ask friends to donate too!

I will post regularly on Facebook about the cause and donations coming in so follow my Athlete page here.

Digging a water reservoir.

Thank you to these great companies for offering their support for my Dekpor School Development Organisation fundraising project

February 13, 2013

A few musings from a Half Marathon

Ok, ok, it's Wednesday evening and I ran the Pacific Road Runners First Half Half Marathon on Sunday morning, so in blogging terms this is old news - but hey, Monday was Family Day so I enjoyed a day away from the computer and then the past 2 days have been extra busy catching up on work after the day off!  So, a half marathon is not an ultra which makes a race report seem rather excessive to this mileage junkie who only raced 21.1km, but here are a few brief thoughts:

- My pacing was kinda bad.  I mean it wasn't awful, but heck - I had not much clue what sort of 21.1km shape I was in so I would surge with speedy optimism and then in the next km be reigned in by more sensible pacing thoughts.  I ran the first km in 3.33.  I was a little over excited :)

- About 2km in a guy running next to myself, Catrin Jones (eventual female winner) and Lisa Harvey said 'nice going girls, work together - that's good'.  Uh, thanks 'boy' - we were managing ok without your encouragement and I especially think that Lisa, a former Olympian, doesn't need advice on how to race :)

- When Kevin O'Connor shouted at me 'You're not going to let her go are you?' as Catherine Watkins was gliding past me, I decided he was right.  This made the second half of the race much more intense than the first, but Catherine's and Kevin's motivation were much needed and age graded Catherine Watkins is downright amazing.

- Ultra friends clearly love to cheer on half marathoners - it was fab to see Ferg Hawke, Adam Campbell, Ward Beemer and Pat Malavi, among others cheering us along.

- I recently paid $80 for my senior membership of BC Athletics.  In coming 2nd I won $100 from BC Athletics - $20 in the plus and it's only Feb 11th - woo hoo!

- Pacific Road Runners do a FANTASTIC job at organising this race - a local run club that raises about $50, 000 each year for Variety and puts on a race that sells out in less than a day is impressive.  Thanks guys!

- I wore my Montrail Fluid Flex's.  It was most exciting to wear my beloved Montrails in a true road race - and man was I glad they only weighed 6.1oz - as I scraped a new PB by a mere 5 seconds.

- Rita Ivanauskas takes amazing race pics that truly capture 'the moment' - see below.

- I ate a whole Yaletown Brewpub pizza after the race.  Clearly I am used to refuelling 'ultra style',  ooops.  I did run 43km the next day though so that should have burnt some of it off :)

Happy tarmac and happy trails to one and all.  6.5 weeks til Two Oceans 56km, best be off to the gym now tonight's Nancy Greene-threepeat (a slow one) is in the bag.