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A Request for Help: Zermatt Half Marathon and the British Lung Foundation

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Hi folks

Together with my mate Phil (who inspired me to do this), I’m running the Zermatt Half Marathon on 7 July 2018, a mere 11 weeks away. **shudder**.

I was planning on doing some training, turning up and at least making at attempt to run the 13-and-a-bit miles up the hill before collapsing in a heap, supping some eye-wateringly expensive beer and staggering off somewhere to hide. But where’s the fun in that? OK, there isn’t going to be any fun, however this plays out, but I might as well try and get something out of the whole lung-busting experience.

Zermatt Half Marathon ProfileI’m doing the section from Zermatt up to Riffelburg. I could try and run the whole course, but it would probably kill me – just look at it!

There are some photos from least year’s even here, to give you an idea what the course looks like.

The photo below is of my Dad, Keith. He has COPD, a lung condition which makes it difficult for him to breath (sometimes frighteningly so). It’s a debilitating, incurable illness which he puts up with stoically. I love my Dad (and Mum of course), not least because he effectively sacrificed his body to ensure my sister and I got a better childhood than the one he got. Two decades on the coal face took a hefty toll. They also paid for me to go to university which served to sling-shot me into this great life I now have.

My Dad

Throughout the years my Dad’s has this problem, he’s had tons of support from a local group called Breathe Easy, part of the British Lung Foundation. While they can’t usually cure the diseases they deal with, they can help manage them, offering medical advice and companionship with other sufferers. To try and offer something small in return, I’ve decided to see if I can raise a few quid for them, making good use of something I’m very grateful for: two working lungs.

Dad watching his beloved 'bods' out at Gibraltar Point near SkegnessDad watching his beloved ‘bods’ (birds to you and me) out at Gibraltar Point near Skegness

I’ve been training fairly steadily for about three months now, and have lost 7Kg in weight. I aim to lose at last another 3Kg, ideally another 8Kg, as I don’t fancy carrying it up a mountain. I’ve already shaved my beard off, otherwise it’d be going next to save a few grams! The more money you guys hand over, the less beer, chocolate and croissants I will consume on the way, I promise.

So, if you fancy donating in return for copious images of me staggering about Europe in a state of red-faced, ever-increasing panic, here’s a link to the Just Giving page I’ve set up. Or click on the image below to go to the same secure donation page. Any money donated will go straight to the charity (minus whatever Just Giving take as a fee). None of it will be used to cover any of the costs for the run itself.

Click on this picture to go to the Just Giving donation page. Click on this picture to go to the Just Giving donation page.

Cheers, thanks for reading folks, Jay

P.S. this is how the organisers describe the half marathon. Sounds simple enough?

Half-time
Zermatt, the epitome of alpine resort sophistication with its overwhelming view of the world’s most glorious mountain – the Matterhorn. The Bahnhofstrasse in cosmopolitan Zermatt marks the athletes’ fleeting and final passage through the realm of civilisation before they once again compete with the forces of nature on their ascent to Sunnegga.

Breathing space
Sunnegga, the long ascent through pine forests and alpine pastures, acknowledges the athletes’ spirit with a magnificent panoramic view of the Alps. The next few kilometres over flat terrain offer a welcome breather.

Last lap
Riffelalp, lying at an altitude of 2,222 metres. One glance at the resplendent Matterhorn fortifies the athletes for the even greater test of strength to come. For the arduous ascent from Riffelalp up to Riffelberg is next – and this last lap scales an elevation of yet another 400 metres.

Finishing line
Riffelberg, 2,585 metres above sea level. The pain subsides. Breathing becomes easier. 29 four-thousand-metre mountains cheer each runner who reaches the finishing line – because everyone who makes it up here by 16.20 pm is a winner.

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