It's amazing what inspires us to do good in the world and make a difference. That's what happened to Charlotte P. after she visited Shewula, Swaziland on a trip to assist children in informal schools. Charlotte felt a huge motivation and need to give back to the community starting with these children, most of whom were orphaned due to HIV/AIDS in the area. How did she do it? Running and running. She started by completing a half marathon and raised close to $400 for the children of Shewula but she wanted to do more!
Charlotte’s success story was largely accomplished in 2019, during her final year of college. She managed to secure a place in the London Marathon to run for The Children’s Society — a UK charity that helps all disadvantaged children across the nation, regardless of their background. She eventually raised nearly $3,000 for disadvantaged children across the UK. This was completed while preparing for finals and graduating college with honors.
My goal is always to make a real difference wherever I can, particularly for those who are in a disadvantaged position through no fault of their own.
Since then, she has gone on to be a fundraiser for AGE UK Reading, which helps support the elderly in the community by combating loneliness. This year, she will run for them and raise money in the Reading Half Marathon. Charlotte shares some of her best tips to give back to your community:
What was your goal and what helped you stay focused?
My goal is always to make a real difference wherever I can, particularly for those who are in a disadvantaged position through no fault of their own. Also, I feel that I have the capability to do these challenges for a good cause - there is nothing to stop me so why not!
On one of my really long training runs when I was trying to stay motivated to continue my 19-mile run, I paused at the 12-mile point to think of the children who benefit from my volunteerism. By making the effort to volunteer, you encourage hundreds of people to be more aware of the issue and donate to a good cause. The number of people that are both directly and indirectly affected is amazing! It’s a huge motivator to stay focused to achieve the goal.
Can you offer any advice or maintenance tips to share with others?
One of the main things I kept telling myself was, “the harder it is now, the easier I am making things in the future.” When I was having a hard run, I was thinking, if I go one more mile then I am going to be that much better, fitter and making that race just a bit more enjoyable. Another thing is that it is a million times worth it and more. Hard things are temporary but the positive outcome can be life long! This makes it totally worthwhile for everyone involved.
Never feel like you can’t do it. Before I started running, I could barely run a 5K. By building this up with consistency and hard work over just 8 or 9 months, I could run a marathon! And if I can, absolutely anyone can. Things like time/pace do not matter when you’re raising money and potentially changing someone’s life for the better — just go beyond the personal focus.