Clayton MacLean from Ruislip was one of our nine runners that took part in the Great South Run last Sunday. Here he tells us what the experience was like.
I work in IT but for the last five years I have been a member of 600 (City of London) Squadron, the Royal Auxiliary Air Force. One of the great things about being an RAF Reservist is that you get to take up adventurous training opportunities.
In July 2013 I took up the offer of doing my first solo parachute jump but unfortunately the landing didn't go well and I badly dislocated and broke my ankle.
One year on I am still recovering from this injury. This summer Corporal Gary Edgerton at 600 Squadron suggested entering the BUPA Great South Run 2014 to help me on the road to full fitness.
I did have my doubts. Would I be capable of running the distance (10 miles)? But Gary is very persuasive and when he asked me to be the team leader for the 600 Squadron Team, well that was it, I had to take up the challenge.
Running for the RAF Benevolent Fund was a no-brainer for me. I have supported the charity twice in the last three years, the last time being when I entered British 10K last year, raising over £700.
I have the greatest respect for the work that the RAF Benevolent Fund does, in particular their Airplay programme that directly supports families with young families providing play and nursery facilities on RAF stations.
The team set itself the goal of raising £600. I am delighted to say that to date we have raised £714 and there are donations yet to come in. We are all very grateful for the support of 600 Squadron, work colleagues (both RAF and civilians) and family and friends for their generosity and support.
For me the best moments of the Great South Run were the warm support from the crowds lining the course and from other runners. Also, I can't forget the RAF Benevolent Fund volunteers at the seven-mile point when I for one was really hurting; their shouts of encouragement really helped me to keep going. Of course, to reach the finish when I really had nothing more left in the tank was an incredible feeling.
A big thank you to the RAF Benevolent Fund's Laura and Heather who kindly provided much needed teas and cakes after the run at The Tenth Hole Café. I also must mention Sgt. Mark Bannister. Without his support the weekend would not have been so enjoyable for the team. He kindly accommodated all of us in his home, and was our driver, photographer and chef.
If you are looking to raise some money for a charity then please think of the RAF Benevolent Fund. The staff are so supportive and encouraging and can help you with planning of your own fundraising activities. And most importantly the money that you raise will go towards the Fund's vital work in supporting the RAF family.
By Clayton MacLean