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Big Issue Foundation

Rhia takes on Royal Parks Half Marathon for The Big Issue

Rhia works in the fundraising team at The Big Issue Foundation and decided to take on the Royal Parks Half Marathon to raise money to support Big Issue vendors.

Why did you decide to take on the Royal Parks Half Marathon?

The Royal Parks is an iconic event that I have eyed up for years. I absolutely love running in London and this route takes you past a few landmarks like Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square as well as letting you run through the beautiful parks.

Why did you choose to support The Big Issue Foundation?

Every day at work I am genuinely inspired by Big Issue vendors. The vendors we work with are so resilient, working for a better life even if historically life hasn’t been that kind to them. It has also really opened my eyes to the fact homelessness can really happen to anyone. I really believe in our ethos of providing a hand up, giving vendors the knowledge and skills to help themselves.

How did your training go?

I definitely found it beneficial to follow a training plan, so I didn’t have to think about what I was doing every week. Every Sunday evening, I was planning when my training sessions would be during the week. I also made a rule for myself that I would never miss 2 training sessions in a row so if I did bail on a session, then I made sure I did the next one!

What was the experience like on the day?

As soon as I got out of the tube station, the atmosphere was amazing. As I walked to the start village, you could feel the excitement and energy in the air. I was in the last group to start the race and it was great as I got to see some of the elite runners going past before I started which was really inspiring.

There were people cheering along every single part of the route and it really keeps you going having strangers (and friends!) telling you that you can do it. I was struggling on the last 2 miles but as soon as I saw the finish, I found some energy deep down and sprinted the finish with the crowd cheering me on – it felt like I was winning the whole race!

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Your gift today will mean Big Issue vendors will get the support they need to progress forward in life. You will be supporting vendors in key areas including housing, finance, mental health and employment.
What do you wish you knew before you started?

That anything is possible with a plan in place! The distance can feel overwhelming but when you see it broken down in a training plan it’s easier to see how you will get there. I’ll be honest, even a month out I wasn’t feeling confident about the distance, but I trusted the process and it got me to the finish line.

What would you say to someone who is considering taking on an event for The Big Issue Foundation?

Just do it! Knowing that people were sponsoring me, and I was raising funds to support Big Issue vendors really motivated me to keep training when I didn’t feel like it. Plus, you’re being supported by a team that walks the walk. Or should that be runs the run haha! I’ll be able to provide support for both your training and your fundraising every step of the way to race day!

Interested in joining Team Big Issue for an event in 2022? Check out some ideas for your next challenge next year.

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Every time you buy a copy of The Big Issue, subscribe or donate, you are helping our vendors to work their way out of poverty by providing 'a hand up not a hand out.' You’re helping Big Issue vendors achieve their #BigWish

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