Something quite unusual has happened in the past few months: I’ve started running. I ran my first 5km last week. When I told my friend this over dinner a few days after I’d hit that first mini milestone, he said: “Running? From what?”
Yes, I am yet another person who’s gone from hating running (and any sort of thing resembling exercise) to being secretly envious of runners when I’m walking home from work in an unsuitable shoe.
I’m struggling to run further than 6km at the moment, and I have to run just over 20km by October. But something I’ve learned from running three times a week for the past eight weeks is that it slowly becomes easier (the longer your running playlist gradually becomes. Btw, my running playlist started as my 21st birthday party playlist, so it has evolved and grown from a great place).
I’m running the Bournemouth Half Marathon on Sunday 8 October for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Hopefully I’ll be able to raise some money for what is a truly fantastic charity, perhaps I’ll get slightly fitter, but what I’ll definitely have done is learned how to spell obstetrician and gynaecologist, which is a life lesson well worth the sacrifice of blisters and decreased lung capacity.
The desire to begin running wasn’t there before I decided to do the half marathon, but once I was approved by the RCOOG (R-coog, from now on, its gangster moniker) it gave me a huuuge surge of motivation. Yuge, even. I’ll be running the half marathon alongside my darling friend Chloe’s Trayford’s huge, honking FULL marathon; both in Bournemouth, both probably going to get a huge Nando’s afterwards. She’s running 26.1 miles for Rethink Mental Illness, please, please, please help her out by donating to her page here. She’s a superstar and so very inspiring.
When I was scrolling through the list of charities I could opt to donate for, the decision seemed like a weighty one. Clearly, every charity that exists does something good for someone, somewhere, so it really was dealer’s choice. My first thought was to go for a similar charity to my friend, perhaps Mind or Rethink, but R-coog won out because, in an age of Trumps and DUPs, women’s healthcare is something that needs to be constantly fought for, funded, and its importance screamed about from the rooftops. (Mental healthcare does too, as does, well, every -care, but I only had the choice to pick one, so I gone and picked).
We are pretty lucky in England, Scotland and Wales to be able to get access to sexual health and family planning services, from contraception to abortion. While the implementation of these services is not always perfect – and there are things that can always be improved – we can go to our GP or local sexual health service and ask for help from someone who supposedly knows their stuff. Healthcare professionals can – and should – give us free, non-judgemental and informed advice, without telling our parents, or asking for our boyfriend’s approval. They will not report us to the police.
The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists train healthcare professionals in under-resourced countries to help women during pregnancy and labour.
Its training package Excellence in Obstetric Skills teaches healthcare workers about emergency obstetric skills, early warning symptoms, communication and referral and respectful care. The training package includes ‘train-the-trainers’ to embed skills locally. This video is great and you should at least watch a bit of it:
The newly-launched Excellence in Essential Gynaecological Skills package offers training for healthcare workers in 10 aspects of gynaecological health including cervical cancer, early pregnancy loss, abnormal uterine bleeding and contraception. This training package is currently in the development and piloting phase, and it’s the one that I’m specifically fundraising for. Let’s kickstart excellence in essential gynaecological skills, people!
So, those are some of the reasons why I’m running the half marathon for this great and important charity. Running is also making me feel good about having ownership over my own body, a personal freedom too often taken for granted.
I feel like Lenny Henry right now pleading you for your hard-earned wages, but please, please, any donation from your good self will help me reach me goal of raising £300!