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Century challenge for cadet Charlie

For some teenagers, videogames, social media and hanging out with friends are how they spend their free time. But for 17-year-old Charlie, he challenged himself to running 100km to mark 100 years of the RAF. In this guest blog, he tells us more…

I woke up early one January morning to my usual alarm clock and had a sudden thought…in four months the RAF turns 100 and I need to do my bit!

Over the course of about 20 minutes I rushed together a list of ideas of what I could do for such an occasion. The list was comprised of only one idea – RUN.

Charlie Howard

Run and raise some money in the process. Simple enough!

Having never been a massive fan of baking or bag packing, I figured that running was the next best thing, and doing 100km would be quite symbolic. So I began my training, set up a JustGiving page and... well, now it's all done.

The easy bit? Knowing which charity to benefit from my fundraising efforts. For me there was only one choice, the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.

I chose the Fund because they provide both serving and former serving personnel with financial, practical and emotional support. It's an incredibly important charity that does so much work in supporting the entire RAF Family who have given so much to keep our skies safe.

I trained for just over eight months and also managed to complete the Shrewsbury Half Marathon as part of that. I've always been a keen runner, but this was one of the toughest challenges I've taken on, especially when my knee gave in. I was stuck at walking pace and I'm not used to going slowly when I run.

The best bit was meeting another runner on the way there who had been running ultra-marathons for the past 60 years who gave me some tips that he'd picked up along the way. It was difficult, there's no two ways about it, halfway through I felt really fed up, but I was determined to knuckle down and get on with it.

The 62 miles along the Trans Pennine Trail from Liverpool to Manchester took me just over 14 hours to complete but knowing I was doing my bit to support the RAF Family kept me going!

I'm currently a student at Shrewsbury Colleges Group and a member of the 1119 Shrewsbury Squadron but hope to join the Royal Air Force as a Physical Training Instructor when I finish.

Charlie is aiming to raise £1,000 for the RAF Benevolent Fund. To visit his JustGiving page click here: justgiving.com/fundraising/charleshoward100km    

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