Run Dem Crew

Run Dem Crew: The First Annual Zombie RunRun Dem Crew was formed in east London in 2007 by a runner and writer called Charlie Dark — less than five years on the running club he started has more than 100 members, with some now forming spin-off groups in other parts of the capital.

It can be hard to keep yourself motivated when you’re training on your own, but Across the Divide has provided me with a helpful guide to preparing for the Arctic Circle, and while I’m working hard with my fundraising I also need to be working equally hard on improving my fitness.  What better way to prepare than joining a running club?

A good friend of mine — the writer runner — has been running with Run Dem Crew for ages, and she has in turn inspired me to join up with them.

I turned up on Tuesday night at the 1948 Nike store in east London, where the Crew run out from.  Of all nights I could have picked, it turned out this was their First Annual Zombie Run: taking to the streets of London painted up like the living dead.

100 runners took to the streets of the capital under the cover of darkness, and as a pack we set off through Shoreditch and towards Liverpool Street station.  The different speeds and abilities of the groups within Run Dem Crew quickly spaced us all out, but the route was the same: through the middle of Liverpool Street Station, out the other side, across London Bridge, down along the river to the Millennium Bridge, across to St Paul’s (passing by Occupy London) and back towards 1948.

Next March, the Great Arctic Fundraising Adventure will have me running in the snow alongside a pack of huskies  — possibly having fallen off my sled, or pushing the sled uphill.   This night had me running past ionic London sights instead, places that I see every day but don’t pay attention to in my 9-6 working drudge.

My fitness isn’t nearly as bad as I might have thought — which is reassuring, but my flat feet and bow legs don’t make me a natural runner, so I was left with a painful back and painful knees, but the reassurance that I can do this.  Next year, when I’m sat beneath the Northern Lights, I’ll know that running with Run Dem Crew paid off.

Please do your part to support The Great Arctic Fundraising Adventure and make a donation here.

Fundraising adventures

What’s new with the Flat-Footed Adventurer and my Great Arctic Fundraising Adventure?  Actual Fundraising has taken up a lot of my time, pre-adventure recently.

In the last few months I have spent entire days collecting in National Rail stations Paddington and St Pancras.  I have also spent large amounts of time collecting on a local retail park, outside a local Tesco store, and at a Poundland fun day near Elephant and Castle.  Some volunteers I’ve met while out collecting have told me they don’t like street collections and find them depressing.  I’m not clear in what way they find them depressing, but I enjoy them.

Sure, they’re often long days; my collections in national rail stations have had me on my feet for 12 hours (give or take some breaks), and I’ve heard complaints from volunteers that the collections recently aren’t nearly as profitable as they have been in the past.

I enjoy the human interaction.  Most people just chuck a couple of quid the bucket as they hurry past, but some people stop to talk — they’ll stop and thank me for the work that Macmillan Cancer Support do.  Or they’ll tell me how cancer has affected their own lives, as a patient or through knowing someone with cancer.  Sometimes they are sad stories, sometimes they are stories with a happy ending — but these people remind me of why I am raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support with this adventure.  Some people don’t just put some coins in the bucket, either — some people will reach into their wallets and put a banknote into the collection.

I also enjoy observing life, watching people going about their business.

I was recently at Droidcon — a conference dedicated to the Android operating system.  While there I had the opportunity to talk to HTC, Sony Ericsson and Accenture about the Great Arctic Fundraising Adventure.  HTC were enthusiastic to hear about it, and the other two were progressively less interested.  Unfortunately, attempts to follow-up haven’t been very fruitful.  I have also tried to make contact with RedBull in several different ways — but have had the same frustrating lack of response.

To date, my fundraising efforts online and offline have helped me to raise just over £2,000 — which is roughly a 30% of my way towards the total, and I haven’t yet been told how much my collection in St Pancras raised.

I need to have raised £4,800 by December 26 — so I still need all the support I can get.  You can contribute towards the Great Arctic Fundraising Adventure here and show your own support for Macmillan Cancer Support.