A local running challenge across the Swindon area is taking place throughout November in aid of homeless charity Christmas Care.
‘Runvember’ involves more than 150 people from the local area, running every day throughout the month and logging their distances on a Facebook page. It has been organised by Alan Butler, a building services contractor from Royal Wootton Bassett.
Mr Butler can be seen regularly competing at local races in his trusty pair of speedos and is not unaccustomed to running challenges. Last year he ran a total of 760 miles in the 30 days of November, with 227 of those coming in the last week alone.
He said: “It’s a way of encouraging people who wouldn’t normally run or do any form of exercise to try it and feel the buzz I get from being out running. When I’ve run 20 miles, I feel so proud and fulfilled that 13 years ago I used to smoke 40 a day and got out of breath walking up the stairs, but can now run 20 miles without even thinking about it.
“Last year I had 25 people join me in the challenge and it was just a fun thing. I never thought that I would get 150+ people sign up this year, and the emotion that I get when people comment on the posts is priceless.”
The running around also has a fun element too, with people who are getting involved with the challenge being asked to stop random members of the public and explain what they’re taking part in, to get a selfie with them, then post the pic on the event Facebook page.
The 8th day of the challenge is also swimwear day. A group run will be leaving Coate Water at 10am to run around Swindon in swimming attire.
So if you see runners in swimwear, feel free to take some pictures and post them on our Facebook wall.
The challenge is all taking place in aid of Christmas Care shelter, the charity that aims to help homeless people in Swindon during the Christmas period with temporary accommodation, food and support.
Alan’s motivation to work with the charity during the challenge came from the previous year’s Runvember events.
He said: “During last year’s challenge I used to frequently run through the town centre early in the morning. Seeing the homeless in the doorways made me realize how lucky I am, I suppose, that I have a loving family and a good group of friends. For them I couldn’t begin to understand how hard it must be, so my mission was then to try and make a difference to their lives. In order to do that this year, if you want to take part in the challenge you have to donate a bag of items from a list at www.christmascare.co.uk, and that acts as your entry fee.”
Details of the challenge can be found on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/runvember2015/
Visit Christmas Care’s website at: www.christmascare.co.uk