Having got back into his stride, Chris Whittington decided to put his new fitness regime to good use and raise money for a worthwhile cause.
Adur Special Needs Project (ASNP) was his chosen charity as his autistic stepson Riley, ten, attends its weekend play schemes.
Chris said: “Riley loves the play schemes. They have such a wide range of fun and stimulating activities that Riley can join in with. It’s a place where he can just be himself.
“Seeing the work the charity does has motivated me to give something back to them through my own efforts and at the beginning of the year, I set about thinking how I might do this.
“It seemed like a logical next step to convert my renewed enthusiasm for fitness into a way of raising money for ASNP, so when I contacted Yvonne, ASNP’s administrator, in January and explained that I would like to do a sponsored 10k fundraising run for the charity, I was delighted when she said that they would be more than happy to help me with this.”
Chris, of Hildon Close, Durrington, began training for a 10k, which he completed with 18-year-old Samuel Price on Sunday.
Samuel, also from Worthing, often takes part in 10k runs and thought this would be an ideal opportunity for him to raise money for ASNP, as his mum, Teresa, is a play assistant for the charity.
Chris first starting running in his college days, when he took part in a charity 10k. Then running took something of a back seat in his life and it was not until he joined a gym more recently that he started to take a real interest in fitness again.
Inspired by the idea of using personal fitness to raise money for a good cause, Chris decided work towards fundraising for ASNP as Riley had been attending its play schemes at Herons Dale Primary School in Shoreham for almost a year.
Chris said: “I have been going to the gym three times a week, once or twice to run and also to attend classes, as I like to build variety into my fitness programme.
“Initially, I felt a real sense of achievement if I managed to run just 5k but recently I have been regularly running 8k-plus, building up towards running the big 10k.
“Training proved challenging but my motivation came from doing it for a really good cause and one which is close to my heart.
“Adur Special Needs Project do a lot of work on a local level to support children with special or additional needs and disabilities. These children often don’t get the same opportunities and experiences that other children do and the project’s hard work inspired me to give up some of my free time to give something back to them.”
Chris and Samuel started their run in Shoreham, crossing Adur Ferry Bridge to Shoreham Beach and progressing to Widewater Lagoon in Lancing.
The halfway mark was on the promenade opposite Brooklands Park, where they turned around and retraced their steps back to Shoreham.
Running through the bank holiday crowds, in rising temperatures, the pair took about an hour to complete the course.
Throughout training, Chris was spurred on by donations to his JustGiving page, which have taken him past his £500 target. Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ansp for more information. Donations can me made until the end of May.
Adur Special Needs Project is a registered, Ofsted-inspected charity providing weekend play schemes for children aged five to 15 years with special or additional needs and disabilities. For more information, email [email protected] or telephone 07788 239634.