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Fundraiser Tales: Emily’s Surrey Hills Challenge

Picture of Emily

With the Surrey Hills Challenge on the horizon, Emily Friend writes this Fundraiser Tale about her time working on scheme at Challengers, why she’s taking part, and how she got into running.

Almost 4 years ago now I was a fresher looking for a part time job to help support me during my time at university. I had been looking for jobs on the local high street when I stumbled across a Challengers recruitment stall.

I had never worked with people with disabilities before but was willing to give it a go and it sounded like a lot more fun than being stuck behind a counter all day. I soon fell in love with everything that Challengers does and stands for, dedicating my Saturdays and holidays to work with the fantastic young people who attend. Fast forward to the present day, I have just finished working at my fourth (and most likely final) summer at Challengers – I have graduated from university and hoping to start a career in clinical psychology. As a result, my time as a Challengers Young Adults scheme worker is coming to an end.

Emily on scheme image

To round off my time at Challengers, I wanted to give something back to this amazing charity which has provided so much more than a job for me, it has helped me become the person I am today.

When I saw that Challengers were offering spaces for the Surrey Hills Challenge I saw the perfect opportunity for me to raise some money. I started running a year and a half ago. I had never liked running anything more than 100m when I was younger, but my brothers always have, and I was gradually persuaded to give it a go.

As it turns out, I find running pretty enjoyable, particularly longer distances. Wanting some recognition for my progression, I signed up and ran my first half marathon in March. This was a straightforward, flat road race around Woking which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The Surrey Hills Challenge, on the other hand, will be a whole different kind of race and it will definitely be a challenge! The route I will be running starts at the Duke of Kent school in Ewhurst and finishes at Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking, with over 400m incline over the course. I will be running up (and down) many hills, including Leith Hill, the second-highest point in the South East of England!

At the time of writing, I am almost half way through my 10-week training plan, running four times a week and ensuring I face hills regularly. Whilst I do love running, there are times when it’s raining, or I’ve had a hectic day at work and I don’t feel like running but thinking of how all the training will come together to help me complete the race in September helps me get my running shoes on and I am always smiling by the end!

Emily running photo

And so, on the morning of the 23rd of September, maybe spare a thought for me running the half marathon distance around the hills of Surrey in an orange vest. Maybe some positive thoughts and support will help propel me up the hills!

Update: We’d like to congratulate Emily for completing the Surrey Hills Challenge! No mean feat in what looked like pretty wet and windy weather!
You can show your support for Emily by sponsoring her Surrey Hills Challenge efforts on Virgin Money Giving.

Emily completes Surrey Hills Challenge

Inspired by Emily’s Fundraiser Tale? Visit our Inspiration & Ideas section for tips and advice on how you can fundraise for Challengers.