Exercises for New Mothers

I was at a wedding the other week, and a friend had her gorgeous 5 week old daughter there. Whilst I was coo-ing and talking like an idiot to the child, my friend mentioned that since she had the bub, her core strength has disappeared.

 

I can only imagine how short-changed all you new mothers must feel. I mean, you grew a human child for 9 months and then pushed it out, and now suddenly you feel like you cant even run a few steps properly? So, like a good little blogger-friend, I have gone and done some reading, and will summarise my findings for her, and anyone else who is reading who has recently had a child and wondered where the hell their muscle strength has gone. At a time when you need to rally to keep it together. Thanks, evolution, thanks a bunch.

Darwin: the recipient of all evolutionary gripes.

Darwin: the recipient of all evolutionary gripes.

 

First of all, new mums should feel comfortable easing back into exercise as and when they are ready. Those who had an un-complicated birth can start light exercising right away, but remember that the child took 9 months to grow, so be kind to yourself in getting back to shape!

 

If you start to exercise, and you feel worse the day after, then you are pushing yourself too hard. Please always consult your doctor: I have done some research, but this is meant as a few suggestions rather than anything else. I am not a medical doctor. In spite of how many medical shows I have watched.

 

Pelvic Floor

It seems that the first muscle that should be worked after pregnancy (and during) is the pelvic floor. The pelvic floor stretches from the pubic bone at the front to the base of the spine, and acts as a sling to hold the bladder, bowel and uterus. This is the muscle you’d use should you stop your pee mid-flow (not recommended as being a good thing to do!).

 

Kegels are the way to make sure your pelvic floor stays nice and strong. Basically, imagine that you are stopping your pee mid-flow, and you should feel your pelvic floor contract. In the first few weeks after giving birth, do these on your back or on your side. Hold for 5 seconds, relax for 5 seconds, and of 5 reps. You can also try pelvic tilts:

  • Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, knees bent
  • Round your pelvis back so that your lower back touches the floor, and gently suck your belly button towards your spine
  • Hold for a few seconds, and do 10 reps per session, three times a day.

 

As you increase your strength, you can build up these exercises, holding them for longer each time. Your kegels can be done in various positions such as standing, sitting, and when you’re stronger, when doing other tasks such as walking. Some websites suggest using prompts to remind you to do your kegels: when boiling the kettle, or feeing your bub. The good thing about these is that they can be done very discreetly, as Samantha from Sex and the City taught us all many moons ago:

SATC

 

Core Strength

 

During the first few weeks of your child’s life, there’s no need to worry about strength. Give yourself a break! You’re already getting no sleep, and trying to fit in kugels around the feeding schedule.

 

However, by week week two or three, or even four, if you’re up to it, you can start to look at your core. A good beginners exercise for your stomach is this:

  • Lie on your side, and let your stomach relax
  • As you breath out, draw in your stomach like a corset and tighten your pelvic floor
  • Hold for 10 seconds and release

This is kind of like the pelvic tilt, but you’re giving your abs a bit more of a workout. You can also start to plank for short amounts of time to really wake that core up, and incorporate gentle push ups as well. If you experienced Diastasis Recti, then you shouldn’t do any stomach work, and please consult doctor before trying it!

 

The Plank. Great for your core.

The Plank. Great for your core.

 

From about week 2-3 you can start to do gentle push ups to get your arms engaged. As you pick things up off the floor, try to squat rather than bend from the waist. This will start to engage your quads.

 

To get your hamstrings and butt into gear, you can try floor bridges:

  • Lie on your back with your feet on the floor, knees bent, arms by your side
  •  Lift your butt off the floor by squeezing your glutes and engaging your core. Push your heels into the ground
  • Do a kegel, and hold for three seconds, at the top
  • Release and return your butt to the floor
  • Repeat 10 times and do 1-2 reps

 

Floor Bridge

Floor Bridge

 

Cardio

 

And now we can talk about cardio!! When you return to activity after pregnancy, cardio is the last thing you should jump in with. Work on the above muscle groups before you try anything crazy.

 

Immediately after the birth, you can start walking gently – maybe for 20 minutes at a time. Again, this is only if you feel up to it. As your strength and stamina increases, you can also increase the length and distance.

 

Running should only commence at least 6 weeks after you have given birth, and that is if your doctor gives you the go ahead. Your body has changed a lot over the past 14 months, and so running might feel very different. Runner’s World recommends starting with a walk-run programme, alternating one minute of walking with one minute of running fro 30 mins: so in total you have 15 mins running and 15 mins walking. It’s recommended to do this every other day to give yourself time to recover. After 8 weeks you can start to run for 20 minute blocks as long as you feel up to it.

 

As you increase your cardio, it’s really important to continue with your strengthening exercises. Muscles are weakened during pregnancy,  and you don’t want to get injured!

 

So that’s it! That’s how women who have just given birth can start to re-integrate exercise into their routine. Gradually your muscles will return, and you can start to run again. I imagine the endorphins feel amazing after sleep deprivation.

 

This is the kind of image Google provides when you type in 'new mothers exercise'. She's definitely got some kind of endorphin high there.

This is the kind of image Google provides when you type in ‘new mothers exercise’. She’s definitely got some kind of endorphin high there.

All the new mothers, please take care and be kind to yourselves! These are suggestions on how you could approach it, not a judgement that you should. And for all the non-new mothers, thank you for sticking to the end! These exercises are good for everyone who want to develop a stronger core, and if you’re a runner, it’s always good to make sure your pelvic floor is strong.

 

Ellie B

 

 

Sources

  1. Anon (May 2013). When Can I Start to Exercise After Giving Birth? [WWW]. Available from: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a196/when-can-i-start-to-exercise-after-giving-birth
  2. Bourne, A. (April 2013). I’ve just had a baby. How can I remember to do my pelvic floor exercises? [WWW]. Available from: http://www.babycentre.co.uk/x1014318/ive-just-had-a-baby-how-can-i-remember-to-do-my-pelvic-floor-exercises (Accessed 29th October 2014)
  3. Jhung), L. (30th August 2010). Up and Running [WWW]. Available from: http://www.runnersworld.com/womens-running/up-and-running?page=single (Accessed 23rd October 2014)
  4. NHS Choices (18th August 2014). Keeping Fit and Healthy with a Baby [WWW]. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/keeping-fit-and-healthy.aspx (Accessed: 29th October)
  5. NHS Choices (13th January 2014). Your Post Pregnancy Body [WWW]. Available from: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/your-body-after-childbirth.aspx#close (Accessed: 29th October)
  6. Shelton, S. (no date). Top Moves to Get Your After-Baby Body, Fast! [WWW]. Available from: http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/post-pregnancy/post-pregnancy-exercises/?page=1 (Accessed 23rd October)

Rock Climbing and Gorge Walking. Just Your Average Team Bonding.

 

Last week we had a regional meeting with all our UK employees. Like EVERYONE’s regional meetings, it included workshops, a big old slap-up dinner, and then some team building activities. The evening activities included a magician who completely blew my mind, and a photo booth where I spent many a few hours:

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I am sporting some lovely gold-star sunnies, and my buddy wears that glitter cowboy hat just right, don’t you think?

But I have to say, our UK manager outdid himself with our team building activities. Last Thursday, our entire UK operations had a day of…. rock climbing and gorge walking!

 

I have never done either: I’ve done indoor rock climbing before, where you have chalk and nice plastic pieces to hold, where the worst that will happen is your nails will split from all the over-chalking. I’ve never done it outside, where there are no plastic pieces to hold, and where splitting nails is only one of many concerns.

 

Outdoor rock climbing is a different beast, and concerns that day included ‘my colleagues are responsible for my support ropes, and they’re all rather hungover’, and ‘if I make a wrong move here, I’m going to fall to the ground. Which is made of rock’.

 

So. We split up into two groups, and I was in rock climbing first. As you’d expect, the weather in Wales in late October was drizzly and grey, but that didn’t dampen our moods! We were ecstatic to be outside on a Thursday – a Thursday for crying out loud! – and we weren’t going to let a little rain get in the way of climbing up a mountain amidst a torrent of annoying humorous banter.

photo 1-23

As a child, climbing trees was my all-time favourite, and I was looking forward to this. But as I reached the half way point, I looked down and felt very nervous: if I slipped, and if my colleagues stuffed up and dropped the rope, there was nothing for me to grab onto quickly to save myself. I’m not scared of heights, but that was a little disconcerting.

 

However, my team didn’t let me down, and I soon reached the top and back in no time. Actually, it seems I was quite the speedy climber, and when we later held races, I am proud to say that I won mine. That might have been because some of my colleagues amused themselves by twerking on the rock face, because it was the perfect angle for such frivolities.

We also did abseiling, where we literally walked off the side of a cliff, and down. That wasn’t as much fun as the rock climbing, because for me the fun has always been trying to get as high as you can as fast as you can.

photo 3-16

Here is our instructor Will, who was much bemused at the amount of singing that went on in our group.

After lunch, it was our turn to go gorge walking. During lunch, everyone who had done gorge walking first wore a dazed expression, and said things like ‘yeah, no, it was fun, but…. it was cold….it was very cold….’. When we started, I understood what they meant: you are literally walking up a river, climbing over rocks, walking through waterfalls, and jumping off cliffs into freezing cold water.

 

Sadly, my camera didn't come on the gorge walk. So these pics are from the website.

Sadly, my camera didn’t come on the gorge walk. So these pics are from the website.

More than once, when I stepped from the rocks into the water (which was sometimes above my head), I felt like Rose in Titanic when she gets that axe to free Jack. I summoned her strength and determination, and made it through with dignity, although every time we had to jump from a cliff into the water, I couldn’t help but give an almighty shriek.

I looked just as glamorous as this during my gorge walk. I think my Edwardian dress did the trick.

I looked just as glamorous as this during my gorge walk. I think my Edwardian dress did the trick.

It. Was. Amazing. That was my favourite activity of the day – it was slippery, cold, challenging and exhilarating. And the scenery was gorgeous. The water was crystal clear, and the water alternated from being a river to being rapids with rocks, or waterfalls down mini-cliffs (I mean, they weren’t 18-feet or anything). All the while, we were framed by black, slender, spidery tree trunks and golden Autumn leaves.

gorge-hayd

The next day, more than a few of us had sore muscles: it turns out rock climbing and gorge walking is a great workout for your adductors and core! That evening, after our group disbanded as the conference was over, I went back to my hotel room and had a Pizza Express takeaway pizza. And I ate the lot.

 

Ellie B

Charity Running & Fundraising: My New Approach

 

And here we have Charity Post Number Two!! Last week I found out that the majority of our fund-raising cashola goes back into projects, which was great to hear, and made for a very positive and happy post. :) This post will look at a more contentious side to charity fund-raising via running. :(

 

Often, when a runner signs up to run for a charity, there is a minimum amount they agree to raise for their spot in the race. The amount depends on the race – I had to raise £300 when I ran for Breast Cancer Care in the Great North Run in 2012, but I’ve had friends who have run the London Marathon, and had targets of approximately £2000.

 

When I was speaking with my running group, one member pointed me to this article, which claimed that charities are holding runners personally liable if they can’t raise the agreed targets. One organisation also revealed that one spot in the London marathon can cost them £400. A quick look at some of the charity listings on the VLM website showed the following fundraising targets:

  • MIND: £1750
  • Oxfam: £2000
  • Asthma UK: £1800
  • MacMillan: £2000

 

And here is the unfortunate darker side of the subject. I personally am torn between the idea that an individual should be held personally liable for that much money when they are essentially doing something voluntarily to raise money. However, on the other side of the coin, charities rely on these events to meaningfully contribute to their overall fundraising, and so they need individuals to take their targets seriously, and encourage minimum dropouts.

 donation

 

I remember one of my friends ran the London marathon a couple of years ago. Not only did he run the 26.2 miles in an inflatable Pamela Anderson outfit (which SB then wore o his stag do – ripe!!), but he also had to hold a series of pub quizzes to make sure that he hit the fundraising target: running the marathon wasn’t enough on its own to hit his sponsorship targets, which doesn’t seem quite right. When people need to resort to additional fundraising activities, I can’t help feeling that the targets are perhaps higher than they need to be.

 

I have done two charity runs: the Great North Run in 2012, and I did the Newcastle Stampede for the British Heart Foundation in 2013 (the target was £25 for that, which I paid myself for the pleasure of doing the event!). As I said, my GNR target was £300. Reasonably, I thought if I can get 30 people to donate £10, I’ll be ok.

 

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But this was much harder than I thought. I advertised on Facebook, I sent emails to colleagues, family and friends, but there’s a fine line between begging, being over-demanding, and simply asking for donations. I had messages from people telling me why they couldn’t sponsor me: they had already sponsored their friends, or they were having a hard month. So then I felt bad for making my friends feel bad that they couldn’t sponsor me!

 

Fundraising

 

So. This all leads to the difficult decision: when you see all these Just Giving pages on Facebook, just who do you sponsor? Everyone has a great cause to support, and a great reason for their choice. And now we know that some targets are ambitiously high. Should you look at the event the individual has chosen, and how challenging it would be? Should you look at who is doing the event, and how challenging it will be for them personally? Should you look at the charity, and base your decision on that?

 

I don’t have the answer to these questions. Except I do recognise that there’s a difference between someone who has never run before wanting sponsorship for the Race for Life, and someone like myself, who runs 10+ miles regularly for fun, asking money for a half marathon. On some level I do think there should be a personal challenge involved if you are asking for money. One of my running friends summed it up well: they are more likely to sponsor someone if the event is ‘a real and perhaps transformative change’ (as discussed in last week’s post) as opposed to ‘just a way of gaining entry to an event’.

Personal-Challenges2

There are many events on my running bucket list,  but I’ve resisted doing too much for charity for the simple reason that I love running. I love it the way that Homer Simpson loves donuts, or Kim Kardashian loves selfies. And it doesn’t seem right to ask for sponsorship for something that I want to do for fun – even if the money is going to a good cause. I’d want to set a time goal, or run further than I’ve ever run before.

 

There’s also something intimate about running for a charity, and if the connection to the charity isn’t mine, then it feels a little voyeuristic. It has to be the right circumstance: I have friends who are going through some personal challenges, but if I chose to run for a related charity, I’d feel like I was shining a light on an area of their life that is very personal.

 

I think it’s time for a big, fat HOWEVER, because this post become more negative than intended! Remember my friend George Nicholson, torch bearer, park-runner extraordinary and all round top bloke?

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He weighed into my runner’s group debate to say that the Great North Run charge charities the same as a typical runner for their places. He is also a very loyal supporter of Acorns Children’s Hospice for deeply personal reasons, and is grateful for all the support our fellow runners have shown when they run for Acorns. The hospice is not in the same league as Oxfam and The Children’s Society in terms of profile, but they raised £42k from the Great Birmingham Run and £26k from the London Marathon last year, and Josh’s story is a powerful reminder of how we can all make a small but positive difference to people’s lives. So keep this in mind too when you’re considering fundraising: don’t lose sight of all the positive you can do!

 

This is a big topic, and I thought about this subject for about six weeks before writing these posts. I feel I should do more for charity since I do run so much, but I’m not 100% convinced that signing up for huge financial targets and asking my friends and family all the time to sponsor me is the way forward. Plus, I’d want to consider which organisation to support to make sure it was right to ask for money. So, behold my own personal answer to this conundrum!!

 

When I ran my first marathon in May, I ran for myself and not for a charity. However, I dedicated the run to my former sports teacher, who had died of a brain tumour the year before, and donated to a relevant charity. When I was running the race, I thought about the charity, and the teacher who has influenced who I am now.

Serious final-100m consideration going on there.

Serious final-100m consideration going on there.

So this will be my approach going forward: I will consider the event that I’m running, and a charity to dedicate it to, and make my own, personal donation – the amount of which will be determined by the nature of the event, my personal goals and interest, and my personal finances!  I’ll let y’all know here who I’m dedicating the run to, so you too can donate should you wish.

 

It won’t raise as much money as it would through a standard charity place. But it means that I can support different organisations in a way that’s comfortable for me. And should I ever want to run in a formal charity place, I won’t have used up all the goodwill of everyone I know! I imagine that there may come a time when something happens in my life where I very keenly want to raise money and awareness through my running, and I don’t want to squander that.

 

I hope it doesn’t sound like the coward’s way out. It’s not intended to – it’s my own sustainable way to bring something constructive out of a hobby of mine. And in the spirit of my new system, I am going to dedicate Saturday’s  5k Neon Run to Oxfam’s Ebola Crisis Appeal, because they were kind enough to help me with information for these posts, and because I admire the way they drop everything to support the most immediate of crises. They are currently working in Sierra Leone and Liberia to prevent the spread of the disease.

 

What do you think on the whole subject? I am very interested.

 

Ellie B

Saucony Style

In both my beloved countries, this is a tricky running season. Is it  too hot? Too cold? Will it rain? Is it sunny but actually freezing outside? That last one has caught me out many times. In the UK, the temp is dropping but there is still humidity in the air, and in Australia, the mornings are still chilly compared to the rest of the day. It’s really hard to know what to wear on your runs that won ‘t have you dripping with sweat or shivering.

 

Luckily for me, Runstopshop.com.au sent me some clothes to try out over the last few weeks, and they have been perfect for this in-between weather. For the last few weeks, my outfit of choice has included Saucony Bullet Capris and a Saucony Transition Hoody.

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These leggings have some features that I really like. There are two media pockets – one on each leg – which I much prefer to using a zip up pocket. My iPhone is always easily accessible without fiddling with zips, the headphone cord isn’t squashed into a too-small pocket, yet everything is tightly smushed in by the material so there’s no danger of losing it. Plus – there’s still a zip up pocket at the back for anything extra, like plasters, energy gels or vaseline. They also have three small reflective points on them, which is great for this UK weather when it’s dull in the afternoons and dark in the evenings, and in Australia, when the mornings are still brightening slowly.

 

These leggings are lovely to run in. They are 80% nylon and 20% spandex, which means they hug nice and close when you wear them. That might sound weird, but it allows for full mobility when you’re running, which makes you feel super-streamlined. Plus, in my opinion, the material works with you: when it’s warmer, it feels cool, but when it’s colder, somehow the elasticity warms you up. They also have a wide waist band, which sits very comfortably on your stomach when you run: no pressure exerted, unlike the narrow waistbands.

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The hoody is my favourite of the two. First of all, let’s talk aesthetics: it’s a really pretty top. It’s looking a little more orange in the pics I’ve taken, but in reality it’s a fab bright pink with purple piped edges. The colour really stands out when you run – again, perfect for dull weather when you don’t want to be missed by any oncoming cars!

 

When I think of a hoody, I think of a heavy, oversized jumper that is about 90% comfort and 10% practical. So I was pleasantly surprised when I saw this hoody is really lightweight: it’s made using ‘featherlight fabric’, which is polyester, and it’s great for wearing over the top of a vest to keep the chill off. The material is mesh, which allows your skin to breathe while you’re running, and uses wicking technology to draw sweat away from the surface of your skin. It’s not been a problem to tie it around my waist if i’ve been too hot, because it’s so light that I’ve not noticed the extra weight, or any discomfort. 

 

This hoody also has a small zip up pocket for your key, and it was so subtle that I didn’t spot it for about a week! There’s nothing worse than running with a key jangling in a pocket, so this discreet pocket is perfect. The hoody also has thumb holes, which I also love. I hate running with cold hands and wrists!

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Discreet key pocket and lovely thumb pockets

There is actually nothing which doesn’t work about these two items: they have been delightful all Autumn. If I was being fussy, I would suggest that perhaps the leggings could have more reflection on them, but that’s because I know Winter’s coming where I live and I’ll basically need to look like a well-lit Christmas tree every time I run.

 

But this outfit isn’t meant for then – it’s meant for right now, whether you’re in Australia or England. It’s the perfect in-between seasons outfit in that it’s very lightweight and easy to wear, it keeps you warm when you need, and cool when you need.

 

Look at the concentration on my face. It takes effort to look so carefree and jump at the same time.

Look at the concentration on my face. It takes effort to look so carefree and jump at the same time.

Both items are currently on sale at Runstopshop.com.au (even better), who are designed to be the one stop shop (see what they did there?) for all things fitness related and sell not only clothing, equipment and nutritional products too. They want to help people maintain healthy lifestyles by helping them find way they need in one place. They have same day dispatch and flat rate shipping, and also ship internationally if any UK readers want to give them a go! Who doesn’t love getting internet parcels delivered?

 

Ellie B

 

Disclaimer: I was sent these products to review, but that hasn’t influenced my opinion of them. All opinions here are my own. 

Charity Running: Why do it and where does our ££ go?

Running for charity: a good cause gets some much-needed funding, and you get to increase your fitness, fulfill your potential, lower that cholesterol and generally revel in being a Supremely Good Citizen of Society. Win-win, right?

 

Given how high the stakes are for charity running (you can’t get much higher than Supremely Good Citizen and low cholesterol), it clearly deserves a post or two. This is the first of two posts about the subject – and maybe more if there’s more to explore.

 

Charity running is big business: in 2009, the London Marathon set the record for the largest annual fundraising event with a total of £47.2 million  ($87.2m) raised. £47 million from one event!  To put that into perspective, the UK’s Children in Need event in November 2013, with it’s huge telethon, raised £31m ($57.3m) on the night, which is £5m more than the year before.

 

 

London marathon

London marathon in London fog!

 

 Over in the homeland, the City2Surf, Australia’s largest race, raised $4,561,200 (£2.5m) in 2014. This beat last year’s amount by $500k (£272k). There’s no doubt about it: the contribution made by running is incredible.

 

City2Surf

The ‘City’ part of City2Surf

Thanks to social media and Just Giving etc, it’s so much easier for people to support their friends too. Gone are the days when we’d have to write down what each person promised to donate, and then chase them like an awkward, jilted lover for said donation. No, these days, people can donate from the comfort of their own homes, or even on their mobile phones when they’re out and about. The future is here, people.

 

As well as serving a Higher Purpose, running for charity often triggers a lifestyle change too. I asked my running group how fundraising had impacted their running. Of the women who answered, the majority said that they wanted to do the Race for Life (women only 5k event for cancer research) due to a personal connection, and that was the first time they had done any regular running. Post-race, they were bitten by the running bug and carried on.

 

Race for Life, Durham

Race for Life, Durham

 

A lot of the guys concurred: fundraising for charity had kick-started their running careers, whether as a result of a bet, or because they too had a personal connection they wanted to support.  One of our runners transformed from couch potato (his words!) to Park Run Event Director! Not a bad kick start. Another guy also said this: ‘I ran because I was getting fat from eating too much chocolate. Discovered that if you run enough you can eat almost whatever you want. Sold.’ Amen.

 

So far, we have learned that fundraising via running is very good for the charity, and very good for the individual. Not many surprises there I guess. However, is this combo of fitness, charity and altruism really as peachy as all this?

 

Sometimes – and this might seem controversial – it can feel like the activity itself is emphasized at the expense of the charity. Whilst not running, or even sporty, the Ice Bucket Challenge is a good example of this: it received criticism for being narcissistic, with too few people actually going on to donate. People liked the game but not the giving.

 

However, check this bad boy out: during a typical week, the MND Association would typically receive £200,000  ($370k) a week in donations, but during the week of 22-29 August, it received £2.7m ($5m). So in spite of the hype, and the fact that for weeks you couldn’t find literally anything else on Facebook, there’s no question that the real winner here was the MND Association.

 

This leads to another question. With so much money being raised for charity, how do we know where it goes? This is our hard-earned cash, and I’ve had more than a few people say in hushed tones ‘yeah, but we don’t really know where it all goes….’

 

When researching this post (yes, I do look into what I write you know!), I asked Oxfam and the Children’s Society all about their sporty-fundraising, and where their money goes. I approached these two because I personally am interested in the work they do, and because Oxfam has an international focus, where as The Children’s Society seems to work more on a UK level. Here’s what I found out:

Oxfam

 

Oxfam rely on sporting events a lot to contribute to their overall fundraising. At this year’s Great North Run, they had 350 runners who raised a minimum of £300 each, totaling approximately £105,000. The London Marathon is so popular that they can ask runners to raise a minimum of £2,000 each. In 2014, their 72 places meant they received approximately £144,000.

 

This is big bucks we’re talking about. The Great North money alone is 2.3 is times the annual salary of a couple with two kids– so you’d better be confident in where it’s going. Here is a breakdown for every £1 donated:

  • 82p goes to emergency, development and campaign work
  • 9p on support
  • 9p invested to generate future income through fundraising

The 82p goes into their General Fund, which goes towards a number of different projects they are working on.

 

Children's Society

 

The Children’s Society raised £5 million from fundraising events each year. Runners for the London Marathon are asked to raise £2,000, and last year they received £164,000 from 73 runners. From every £1, 72p goes directly towards services to help disadvantaged or vulnerable children. For every £1 they invest in fundraising, they generate another £4.30.

 

In 2013-2014, their total spend included:

  • Services to children: £29.4m
  • Trading, inc. shops: £6.8m
  • Fundraising: £5.9m
  • Campaigning, research and policy: £4.8m
  • Other: £0.3m

 

So, when we support someone who is running for charity, it seems the lion’s share actually finds its way to The Cause, whatever it might be. Which, let’s face it, is reassuring.  Some organisations such as Tearfund use the additional money raised by Gift Aid to cover their admin costs, meaning that even more donation money goes to the front line.

 

Our sponsorships are hard earned: the giver works hard to earn their salaries, and the runner works hard pounding the pavements in all weather training for an event that seemed like such a good idea at the time. It feels like charity running and fundraising is growing in popularity (although I don’t have any figures for this), and while it may seem like Just Giving pages are waging war all over Facebook for prominence, behind many of them are individuals who are trying to make a difference: to themselves, and to the world. And that’s why they’re Supremely Good Citizens of Society.

 

Ok, that was a fairly sanctimonious end. I was honestly really pleased that my research showed such a high proportion of each donation going towards project work, which may have influenced the tone of this post. The next post will deviate from this, and look at my own approach to charity running, as well as some different opinions from my runners group amigos……

 

Ellie B

 

 

Sources:
  1. Anon (16 November 2013). Children in Need beats record total after raising £31m [WWW]. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-24941239 [Accessed: 12th October 2014]
  2. Collinson, P. (25 March 2014). UK Incomes: How does your salary compare? [WWW]. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/mar/25/uk-incomes-how-salary-compare [Accessed: 12th October 2014]
  3. Townsend, L. (2 September 2014). How much has the Ice Bucket Challenge Achieved? [WWW]. Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-29013707 [Accessed: 12th October 2014]
  4. Wikipedia (page modified on 4 October 2014). London Marathon [WWW]. Available from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Marathon [Accessed 12th October 2014]

 

Information regarding The Children’s Society, Oxfam, Tearfund, and City2Surf was sought through email and phone correspondence with them.