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Home Fundraiser Tales: Max’s Northern Finnish 10k Run

Fundraiser Tales: Max’s Northern Finnish 10k Run

To bid his time at Challengers farewell, Max Raymond, our Communications Officer embarked on a 10km run all in aid of Challengers! In this Fundraiser Tale, Max tells us why he decided to take on the challenge, how he trained in freezing Finnish conditions, and what he felt after completing the race.

I have worked at Challengers for six-and-a-half years in the Communications Team. In that time I have a developed so much affection for the charity and the people that work there, and so I wanted to do one final bit of fundraising for them before I left at the end of May 2019. As it happened, a 10k race was taking place in Oulu in northern Finland (where I now live) the weekend before my final day at Challengers, so I thought it would make for a fitting farewell.

As you can imagine, there is only so much training you can do in the late winter/early spring for an event like this, what with all that insane amount of snow that we get up here! So my training originally started in the gym, which was…fine, but I much prefer running around my surroundings, whether that’s through the grid-like city streets or de-touring into nature. That phase of training started in early April, so I managed to get quite a lot of good training runs under my belt.

Anyway, race day arrived on Saturday 18th May 2019. It was unseasonably warm for that time of year – as I was lining up at the start, the temperature had already surpassed 15 degrees and was well on its way to the low 20s. Initially, I had thought under an hour would make for a very good time, but this goal was revised as soon as I saw the forecast!

Max FR tale picture

Blue skies on race day!

And then we started. The actual route was a nice tour of the city taking in many of the islands near the city (yes, we have islands), the main beach (yes, we also have a beach), some lovely parks and more. Mostly flat apart from a couple of cheeky elevation points that I wasn’t quite ready for…

By far and away the toughest part of that run was the 5k and 7k mark. That is section where you really have to look at the orange wristband that adorns your right wrist, think about all the support and donations from friends and family and colleagues, and just somehow push on.

So I did just that. Once I had got past that point, the final two kilometres were much more enjoyable as I began to soak up the atmosphere and more spectators appeared to shout encouragement, including someone dressed in an unicorn onesie. I want to thank that unicorn for making me smile at a very hard point of my run!

Max's Finnish run

A proud member of Team Orange.

My wife, another member of Challengers alumni who was volunteering with Oulu Roller Derby at the event, was cheering me on as I approached the mighty home of AC Oulu. From there, I gave all that I had to get round with the athletics track (side-note: I don’t think I’ve set foot on an actual athletics track for about 15 years!) and finish in a respectable 1 hour 3 mins.

I felt a huge sense of pride upon receiving my medal at the end (which is an impressive piece of work and a lot bigger than I had imagined it to be!), but doing this wasn’t for that particular reward. The biggest pride I felt was that I pushed myself to do something that I would have never dreamed of doing a couple of years ago and raise funds for Challengers in the process.

It’s an organisation that has given me so much and I will continue to support them even though I am many thousands of miles away.

If you want to support Max’s 10k achievement, his fundraising page is still taking donations until Sunday 2nd June!