Did you sign up for the Duke of Edinburgh’s special Diamond Challenge? I signed up in January when the campaign launched (see here for more about it) and committed to running a 10k race in March. Here’s how I got on…
Perhaps it was madness, or post-Christmas guilt, but for my New Year's resolution I decided to run 10k (just over six miles) by early March, and committed myself to raising £60 or more for the DofE to help transform the lives of young people across the country.
In January, when I signed up, I was able to run 5k in one go, but no further, so it was a slightly daunting task! However, it was made much, much easier by the arrival of a handy pack from the charity, which came complete with a smart Diamond Challenge T-shirt and – even better – a wonderful journal to fill in with my progress.
I set to work in earnest, gradually increasing the distance of my weekend runs, and even joining a gym to get in some sessions when it was still dark outside. By the time I was comfortable at 8k disaster struck, in the form of a horrible flu that left me bed-bound for a week. I was really anxious about regaining my running abilities in time for the race on March 6.
As soon as I was feeling better – and breathing through my nose again! – I set out for a longer run than even and, with a few walking breaks, made it to 10k. I felt euphoric.
After a couple more long runs it was time to race. I felt nervous in the morning, but thankfully the sleet of the day before had passed, and it was a gloriously sunny day. I won’t say the run was easy – nothing worth doing ever is – but I felt so proud collecting my medal at the end. Now I feel I’ve truly earned my challenge T-shirt, not to mention the beautiful pin that will be arriving in the post any day now. I shall pin it to my sports bag for days when I lack motivation.
There’s still plenty of time to undertake your own challenge, whether you’d like to run 5k, learn to play a tune on the piano, take up dancing or write a short story. Whatever your goal, you’ll find all the tools you need here.
Challenges can take place between 1 January and 31 December 2016, and can be an adventure, a skill or a personal challenge. Follow @DofE on twitter to keep up-to-date and use #DofEChallenge