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Blog: “I like knowing I am making a difference”

The Vitality Big Half 2019 takes place tomorrow (Sunday 10 March), and this year Activity Alliance will have 30 runners taking on the 13.1 mile course. Martin Doyle is one of the 30 runners taking part in tomorrow’s half marathon for Activity Alliance. This will be his third fundraiser run for us, he tells us how much he is looking forward to the atmosphere that running in London brings.

Martin Doyle smiling with medal in hand after Vitality Big Half run in 2018

Hi my name is Martin, I'm 36 years old, I live in Essex and I am a sales and regulations manager. 

I wouldn't class myself as a runner but all my friends say, 'Martin, you're a runner, you've ran the marathon three times, you're a runner.' I just feel like your average person who loves running.

This will be my third run for Activity Alliance - my first run was in 2018 at the Vitality Big Half (when the charity was formerly known as the English Federation of Disability Sport). That same year I ran the Virgin Money London Marathon, and this weekend I will be running the Vitality Big Half again for the charity.

I decided to run for Activity Alliance again this year because I think the charity does a great job in supporting disabled people to be active for life, and I like to fundraise for smaller charities personally.

This year I’ve also managed to get a few friends to run alongside me. I encouraged them to challenge themselves. So, I’ve been helping them with their training plans too, as well as focussing on my own.

I keep my training simple - I try and run twice during the middle of the week and then one long run at the weekend, which I increase the distance on each week.

My motivation to start running came from me just wanting to challenge myself. Also I like doing something each year to raise money for charity. I continuously like to push myself to do better and running has been perfect for this. On the back of this, it’s also about knowing I am making a difference to help other people too.

My goal this weekend is to get under two hours. My personal best for a half marathon is two hours and four minutes, but this time I am really focussed to get under the two hour mark.

I'm looking forward to a few things on Sunday. Firstly, I’m a typical boy, so I am looking forward to receiving my medal at the end. I’m also looking forward to that sense of achievement and knowing that I have completed another half marathon. Also, the atmosphere for London is awesome and you get to run through iconic parts of this great city.

My friends that are running alongside me have never run further than 5 kilometres. They are feeling really proud of how far they have come, and I get a sense of achievement from that too.

Being active generally, and my training at present, supports me in my day to day life because it allows me to focus. When it’s cold out there sometimes it’s hard to push yourself to go out and run. However, once I’m out there I’m focussed. It also helps me with my energy levels too.

Running has so many benefits to it. Being part of a supportive community is epic! People don’t realise the impact of having that team togetherness and what that can do to people - it’s very powerful.

You can donate to Martin’s JustGiving page here.

Everyone at Activity Alliance would like to wish all 30 runners the best for the Vitality Big Half and thank you for raising funds for the charity.

Share your messages of support for our runners on Twitter, tag @AllForActivity in your tweet. Follow the event on social media via hashtags #BigHalf and #MovedByLondon.