Medical school fees fund!
Dear friends and colleagues, please use this page to sponsor, or pledge to sponsor, me to run 5 marathons this spring to raise money for both my medical school fees and my local children's hospital.
I am proud to say I have a guaranteed place at medical school for September 2012 after passing a foundation year in the science subjects with distinction. I am confident I can support myself (and Noah!) for the 5 years ahead but what I don't have is the money to pay for my fees, which have just increased to £9000 a year for 4 years (5th year of training is paid for by the NHS).
While £36000 seems a lot, it breaks down to just £50 per taught day. Or £10 per lecture. If you want to sponsor me for a particular day let me know and I will write to you on that day and tell you what I learnt ( you have a choice from 24/9/2012 to 30/6/2017!)
As a graduate I have no access to state provided tuition fee loans, and in the UK there are virtually no private sector funding providers for education fees. I have no family money to rely on, inheritances or any other form of unearned income. However, I REFUSE to let money be the reason I can't become a doctor. So I am asking for YOUR help...
I know it is unorthodox to look to you, as personal and professional contacts for support, and that individually you may think this rather futile. But COLLECTIVELY you are the most valuable resource I have on this quest. I understand you may have your doubts about donating to a personal cause rather than a charity and so it was to inspire your confidence I decided to run 5 MARATHONS in 5 COUNTRIES over 100 days* (see bottom for dates). These races, symbolic of the 5 years of medical school I hope to undertake, will be an enormous challenge to me, requiring strength and determination, discipline, stamina and patience - all things I am going to need if I am to successfully complete my medical training.
If you would prefer to pledge rather than donate you could use the comments section of the page to say how much you would like to sponsor me, either per mile or per marathon or for completing all five races in their entirety.
I will DONATE 20% of everything I raise in sponsorship to the Royal Alexandra Children's Hospital - where I was diagnosed and treated for my Crohn's disease at the age of 12 and throughout my teens. It seems fitting, considering the care and treatment I received there gave me my passion for medicine, that they should benefit in some way too from my efforts.
If you have any questions please give me a shout - otherwise thank you firstly for reading this far (!) and, secondly, in anticipation of your support, it really does mean a lot.
*Thought it was over 99 days, but then realised there are 29 days in February this year thanks to the leap year!
SEVILLE MARATHON, Spain - Sunday 19th February 2012
***Completed!! 5 hours 14 minutes***
ROME MARATHON, Italy - Sunday 18th March 2012
***Completed!! 5 hours 32 minutes***
BRIGHTON MARATHON, England - Sunday 15th April 2012
***Completed!! 5 hours 54 minutes***
BELFAST MARATHON, Northern Ireland - Monday 7th May 2012
*** Withdrawn from due to knee injury ***
EDINBURGH MARATHON, Scotland - Sunday 27th May 2012
***Completed!! 5 hours 42 minutes***
KENT ROADRUNNER, Dartford, England - Monday 4th June 2012
***Completed!! 5 hours 46 minutes***
Nikki was an absolute champion the whole way round, encouraging me and slowing her own pace to accomodate my poor tired legs! she rose admirably to the challenge of this, her first ever marathon & arguably could have completed it a lot quicker had she been on her own. But we got there in the end and have some lovely sunny pictures of with our medals at the finish line :)
So, after recovering from that race (and nursing slight sunburn!) it was quite daunting to run again just 8 days later at the new Kent Roadrunner Marathon, and facing completely different weather conditions! However being the final race of the 5 I was more psyched up than for any of the others. We set off at 9am - just 250 runners - to go round the 2.5km track of the Cyclopark 17 times... the first few laps seemed easy despite the slight slopes up and down & the bendy curves in the track but as time went on and I reached double figures on my lap count my legs began to hurt and feel leaden to a level I had not experienced before. By 18.5 miles, with 4 laps to go, I was so tired I wanted to give up and I started making ridiculous bargains with myself, promising treats to myself in exchange for "just one more lap" !!
Eventually I found myself with 5:26 on the clock and 1.5 miles to go. Of course then I had to just go for it and threw every last bit of grit and determination I had about me in to those last strides, finally crossing the line at 5:46:04 - my fastest lap in the last 10! Was an amazing feeling crossing that last finish line :)
So now my challenge is complete, and apart from wishing I could have got round under 5 hours on at least one of the races, I am proud of myself and my achievement. I think if this proves anything it is that anyone can run marathons if they are determined enough.
Determination alone would not have got me through 131.2 miles of multi-national roads though and as such I owe a massive thank you to certain people. To my friend Ed, who organised much of the Seville trip and navigated his way round an unknown foreign city to see me at various points and upload photos for you all, not to mention guide me to the finish when they took away the road markers! Similarly to Anna, who came all the way to Rome to be my star supporter. They both walked absolutely miles following the marathon routes in the sunshine to make sure I got to those finish lines (without the reward of a medal to show for it either!)
In Brighton thanks go to Imogen Bone, who began the race with me and my lovely mum who finished it with me - encouraging me on through the seemingly endless miles of searing knee pain. As I've already mentioned my running buddy Nikki, who got me to the finish line in Edinburgh deserves an extra medal for her commitment also for her efforts to fundraise money amongst friends and family on my behalf...and I also need to thank my chief supporters (and banner wavers) in Dartford, Noah Powell and Adam Powell - theres nothing like a rousing cheer of "go mummy! go mummy! go mummy!" to get you moving a bit faster, and again to my mum, Brenda for driving up from Brighton in order to see me finish and drive me home.
Last but not least of course, I owe a big thank you to all of YOU out there, my supporters who have visited this web page nearly 1000 times between you. 30 people have donated and a further 5 have pledged, thanks to your joint efforts I have a nearly a terms worth of tuition paid for and will shortly be writing a cheque to my local childrens hospital for around £450. THANK YOU to all of you who have, and continue to, make my dreams possible - please know that every donation will make a difference to my chances of success at medical school, which I begin in just 95 days time... ooh just enough time for another 5 races! ha, just kidding. But honestly, although I don't think I will ever be a real marathon runner, but I might just be a girl who runs marathons from now on.
Certainly not the end of running for me, I have entered Brighton again for next year, and the ballot for London too so stay tuned - depending on how that goes I might just be running those 2 a week apart in 2013, and how's that for a challenge to look forward to....
With warm wishes to you all, wherever you are in the world
It is with regret today that I have decided to withdraw from the Belfast Marathon on 7th May BUT... do not fear, I am still intending to run 5 marathons and instead I will be taking to the tarmac of the new Cyclopark in Dartford, Kent on Monday 4th June to run 17 laps of the 2.5 km trail cycling circuit. This does mean I will take 107 days to run all 5 races instead of 100 but I hope you can forgive me this small concession.
This has come about because unfortunately during the Brighton Marathon last month, my left knee - which had been sore for some time suddenly buckled between miles 14 and 15. Having been going strong, and clocked the first half of the race at 2:19 I had been hopeful of a good finish for Brighton but alas my leg had other ideas!
Thanks to amazing support from my Mum, who decided at the last minute to also run the race, I managed to keep going and limped the remaining 11 miles as best I could, finally crossing the finish line at 5 hours 54 minutes. This was a disappointing result for me, but frankly I look back and wonder how on earth I got to the end at all!
The following day the knee swelled up and I couldn't bear weight on that leg at all, a trip to my GP informed me I had damaged the cartilage and or/tendons in my knee and required crutches and anti-inflammatories. Since then I have been resting as much as possible and have taken to swimming rather than running to keep up my fitness.
Having tried to run earlier this week however, and not getting very far before feeling the familiar pain in my knee I decided that it was for the best to miss Belfast and instead focus my efforts on Edinburgh on 27th May where my lovely friend Nikki Jones will be taking to the streets alongside me.
Assuming that goes well, I will be running again just 8 days later for my final race in Kent - and hope very much that some of you might make it to Dartford on the Bank Holiday Monday to cheer me on. Being 17 laps of a circuit there will be plenty of opportunities to see me and you will not have to walk very far.
As with Brighton, I intend to run both these races - weather permitting - in full theatre scrubs with a stethoscope round my neck :)
Thank you all for your support - please please do keep the donations and pledges coming. Its exactly 135 days today until I hope to begin at medical school, but without raising another £6000 in that time I will not be going!!
I am also this week posting out approach letters to 56 grant making trusts in the hope of gaining sponsorship from them. I will make sure I update you with any good news from these as and when they reply!!
With warm wishes to you all, from cold and drizzly Brighton today,
It might seem odd to be reflecting on your last marathon only a couple of hours before your next one, but indeed as I sit here and eat my mammoth sized bowl of granola this morning that is exactly what I am doing.
I owe you all yet another vote of thanks for the support and donations that have been coming in consistently for 10 weeks now. Because of the money YOU have donated, and pledged, I now have 7 weeks of medical school tuition fees paid for and have raised over £400 for the Royal Alex Children's Hospital Rockinghorse Appeal.
Rome's marathon was an experience I have sat down to write about on a couple of occasions but have found hard to commit to words. It was a tough race (hot weather and cobblestones do not make for a good combination) and I was disappointed not only with my time (5 hours 32) but also in general with the fact I didnt enjoy it very much at all, which frankly seemed rather an ungracious attitude given the opulent and historic surroundings!
Still, if ever there was a race to renew my vigour for my 100 days of running challenge, the Brighton Marathon would be it! And as I write the gun will be going off in just over 2 hours time. So wish me luck, and think of me this sunny Sunday morning! I will be thinking of every single one the 26 of you who have donated and 9 who have pledged, for its the faith and support you have shown in me that keeps me going when the going gets tough. Exactly the same as it will as medical school if (when!!!) I get there.
To make things a little more interesting I am running this 26.2 miles today in full theatre scrubs and with a stethoscope around my neck, with a big sign on my back saying send me to med school! **If you're here on this site because you saw the website address as I was running, thank you so much - you've got great eyesight :)
Various people will be posting updates to facebook so you can keep a track of my progress. If you want to come down and cheer (Brighton really isn't that far away!) then I would love to see you along the way and I will post a list of my predicted times through the 5 mile markers at the end of this post so that you have a half decent chance of finding me somewhere in the 15000!
Not much to say else now except thanks once again and see you on the other side, with medal number 3!!
Mile 5 - by 10 am (assuming I get across the start line within 5-10 mins of 9:00 am)
Mile 10 - by 10:50
Halfway point (13.1) by 11:25
Mile 15 - by 11:45
Mile 20 - by 12:55
Mile 25 - by 14:00
Mile 26 - by 14:15
FINISH by 14:20
Assuming all goes to plan!
I am in the process of setting up a blog to recount my experiences - and photos - of each marathon and my training. Will post the link here when it is done. Stay tuned for the first instalment: "Seville: the toilet-less marathon!"
Thank you too for all the birthday wishes yesterday - in spite of sore legs and not drinking it was one of the best I have had.
Gandhi once said that 'strength comes not from physical capacity but from indomitable will' - I have always known this to be true but would add that strength is greatly reinforced by the encouragement of others, and the faith you have shown in me through your comments, pledges and donations, has inspired me more than I can say. I will do my utmost not to let you down.
With warm wishes to you, wherever you are in the world
Hope it went well today!
I pledge £100!! And I reactivated my Facebook just to do it! See you in Roma lovely xxx
Hi Leila, well done in Seville. I hereby pledge £200 which may rise if you dress up as something zany like a werewolf or a restaurant for one of the marathons.We need to do an 80's montage training video to compliment your blog! Keep it country, James!
Leila what an amazing (and slightly insane) idea! I pledge £50 per marathon - so hopefully buying you 5 days worth of lectures. In return you can text me on 11th April each year (my birthday!) and let me know just how awesome a doctor you are becoming!! Good luck with all the races and let me know how you get on. Julie
lovely courageous bold strong leila i pledge from me £100 at present with the potential for more if I can in the future (lets hope!). I support you with every fibre, every cell and its cellular constituents, golgi, reticulum, nucleus and all ! big love and proudness x
Amazing!!! I am going to pledge a £1 per mile! Good Luck you can do it - you deserve to go to med school you have worked so hard!! xxx