Saturday, 13 July 2013

Race for Life - online fundraising and giveaways

I'm running in the Oxford Race for Life tomorrow. For anyone not familiar with this phenomenon, Race for Life is a series of women-only races organised by the British charity Cancer Research UK to raise funds for the charity and for cancer research.

I've never done one of these events before, mainly because I only recently started running, but also because I'm slightly put off by the exclusionary nature of the race. Also, while I appreciate that there is a place for participatory events to raise funds for charity, I prefer the more reliable model of setting up regular payments to your charity of choice (Oxfam, in my case).

Also, I really hate pink. I'm going to wear neon yellow.

However, despite my hesitations I will be joining COMPAS and Friends tomorrow for a 5k run. And the few months I spent training convinced me of the usefulness of entering races for an exercise regime.

I started running last spring by following the excellent NHS Couch to 5k programme. My impetus to take up running was my knees, which had begun to make odd creaking noises when I walked up stairs and often gave me twinges of pain. Contrary to popular belief, running is good, not bad for your knees, and after a few months I found the creaking and pain went away.

In fact, now if I stop running for a few months the creaking and pain comes back, so I guess I'm stuck with it. Unfortunately I am not a particularly motivated runner, and am easily put off by cold or wet weather, darkness and general laziness. After our long cold spring I was particularly in need of a good jolt to get me back in the habit. Thank you Race for Life.

But since this is a fundraising event, my reasons for participating should not be entirely selfish. As an incentive to sponsors, I decided to offer a giveaway - one person will be randomly selected to receive a knitted item made by me (items can use only 100 grams or less of fibre).

I considered making this a public giveaway, because I know hosting giveaways is a great way to get more readers for your blog. But then I decided that it would be more fun to knit for people I know - especially since their requests were so entertaining.

Chicken coat © Lorraine Hearn

Airedale Terrier © Joanna Osborne and Sally Muir

I briefly considered offering a free skein of yarn from my stash to knitter sponsors - but despite the size of my stash, I'm loath to give any of it away. Anyway, I'm not completely convinced of the need for more readers. Too much pressure to be interesting.

So for now I'll stick with my selfish blogging, knitting and running. And as incentive to keep up the pace, I'm thinking of entering another race - a 10k in Paris in October.