Written by Daniel Chan, UK Youth Trustee since 2017
Last year I was part of the UK Youth team cheering on our runners at last the London Marathon. Little did I know that I would be one of the runners 12 months later, and with my dad too.
My dad has always been passionate about running. I am incredibly proud of the fact that he has achieved the Abbott World Marathon Majors medal which you earn through completing all six major marathons around the world (Tokyo, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, New York and London). He tried for years to convince me to run with him, but I have tended to prefer nautical activities: scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, sailing and powerboating.
However, tapping into my passion for supporting young people, he suggested that we run the London Marathon together for UK Youth, and I succumbed. As a keen supporter of UK Youth and current Trustee, I have seen first hand the impact of their work in helping young people change their lives and build bright futures. I just couldn’t say no to the marathon knowing I would be supporting young people across the country.
The London Marathon 2019 will therefore be my first marathon. Having only started running outdoors since Christmas, the prospect of running 42.195km run remains incredibly daunting! I knew I needed a goal to keep my training going.
I decided to set myself an ambitious goal that combined my training requirements with my love of travel and the requirements of my role at PwC. I would do 17 training runs in 17 cities in the 17 weeks between 1 January and 28 April, marathon day. With just under one month to go, I have just two cities left, having completed training runs in 15 different cities so far: Kuala Lumpur, Pattaya, Bangkok, Hong Kong, London, Munich, Madrid, Frankfurt, Bristol, Manchester, Hamburg, Birmingham, New York, Liverpool and Gibraltar.
Here are a few of my reflections from my runs across Asia, Europe and North America:
- It’s important to appreciate the surroundings, especially when running in lovely places. I have been very fortunate to run in some of the world’s most iconic locations, including around Central Park in New York, under the Petronas Twin Towers in KLCC Park, Kuala Lumpur and by the historic Albert Docks in Liverpool, in addition to the sites of London.
- The weather can make a big difference. Having run in extreme heat by the beach in Thailand and the snow in Germany, they each pose their different challenges. Wind is also a key factor, which I certainly felt in Gibraltar when running across the airport runway.
- Finally, a personal one for me. I found that running near water is very refreshing, including along the canal in Manchester, the river in Frankfurt and by the sea in Hong Kong. It just shows that I can’t be kept away from the water, even when I’m running.
As marathon day approaches, my focus is to increase the distance of my runs, complete my final training runs in the last two other cities and, most crucially, stay injury-free!
I am running for UK Youth with donations gratefully accepted through the PwC Foundation. UK Youth is a charity partner of the PwC Foundation.
If you would like to donate, you can click here. Your donations will make a big difference to the lives of young people across the UK. From developing young people of all backgrounds at the Avon Tyrrell Outdoor Centre in the New Forest, to providing a national voice for young people and the youth sector. The money raised for UK Youth will be used to help influence policy and unlock funding, design and deliver national skills programmes for young people (including around financial literacy, digital skills and employability).
Follow me on Twitter to see where my last two cities will be and my updates as marathon day draws near: @daniel_y_chan