Susannah Gill and Laura Wright will be using the inspiration they’ve gained from meeting Great Britain’s brightest young sporting prospects to drive them through the #MyMiles Challenge this September. The Challenge, which celebrates the commitment, dedication and sacrifice of talented young athletes, who cover around 40 miles, on average, in training every week, is encouraging fundraisers to undertake physical activity throughout the month.
SportsAid Week ambassadors Susannah, the reigning women’s champion of the World Marathon Challenge, and Laura, the UK’s leading classical artist, known as the sporting soprano, have signed up through Race Nation. The free platform takes just two minutes to register and keeps a running total of all the miles logged. You can choose your own distance, do a #MyMiles Marathon of 26.2 miles or reach 40 miles to match the athletes and keep them company as they train and compete.
“Our amazing bodies were made to move and it’s so important we have exercise as part of a healthy and happy life,” said Susannah. “The #MyMiles Challenge is the perfect excuse to find a new and exciting way to move, with the superb motivation that we’re all helping SportsAid along the way! I love running marathons so this is a perfect excuse to plan another - I will give it thought as to how I can make it fun and hopefully involve plenty of other people so we can all put in the miles for SportsAid.”
The #MyMiles Challenge is designed for YOU to take the lead and decide how you wish to cover your chosen distance. Cycling, swimming, badminton and tennis, as well as team sports, such as netball, hockey, rugby, football and basketball, have proven to be popular in previous years. CrossFit, Zumba, boxercise and yoga are the perfect group activity and that’s the direction Laura is planning on heading in. If you’ve selected an activity and it's not easy to record the distance covered....20 minutes = 1 mile.
“I think it's a wonderful way to highlight the great lengths athletes go to on their road to success,” said Laura. “You can do something as simple as walking or skipping a mile or two for the Challenge, or something as challenging as a marathon...but the best part is when you see an athlete succeed in their chosen sport as you know that you have played a small part in helping them get there, by supporting them through their training and their journey, and raising vital funds to support them.
“I love CrossFit and I'm really into team sports like netball and touch rugby. I'd love to do something with a group of people at my CrossFit box where we replicate a workout similar to one or two of the Olympic sports – it’s challenging but fun! The Challenge is a great opportunity to meet new people, work as a team and show how much we’re backing the athletes. I understand so much more now about the stories of these young people and the hard work they put in on their journey to success.”
The current total for the #MyMiles Challenge, since launching for SportsAid Week 2017, is just shy of 20,000 miles - meaning nearly 500 of the country’s most talented young athletes have been kept company. Susannah, who ran seven marathons across seven continents in seven days in a world record time, gained a greater appreciation for how athletes manage their time and the commitments they have when preparing for and eventually undertaking the World Marathon Challenge.
“I undertook five months of the toughest training I had ever done alongside my full-time day job,” said Susannah. “It made me appreciate how organised and dedicated you have to be, along with how important good nutrition and plenty of sleep is. Anyone who takes on the challenge to excel at their chosen sport is committing to a life of really hard work which is why it’s so important SportsAid is there to support them at the early stages of their careers to give them the best chance of succeeding.
“I think #MyMiles Challenge is the perfect opportunity to bring people together to appreciate sport - from those who enjoy it as a recreational activity through to professional athletes,” she continued. “I love running so the chance to put in plenty of miles while supporting SportsAid is just brilliant. I really look forward to meeting other people who are also getting involved and having the chance to share our stories and experiences of sport. I am really excited to get involved with the #MyMiles Challenge.”
The #MyMiles Schools Challenge is also making a return during SportsAid Week - which takes place from 23-29 September - this year. The Challenge asks pupils to complete a minimum of one mile and donate £1 to SportsAid to help support the next generation of Olympic and Paralympic heroes. The #MyMiles Schools Challenge will also see a number of surprise visits made to schools by SportsAid athletes, as well as competitions for the most miles covered, best photos and the most creative ideas.
“I have huge respect for SportsAid athletes who commit so much of their time to training as well as their education and so many other commitments,” said Laura. “I think it takes huge dedication and sacrifice. I know exercise is hugely important for my mental health and wellbeing, in balance with my career as a professional singer, so to juggle these things can be tough for young athletes. That's why having the support of a charity like SportsAid and close friends and family is incredibly important.”
SportsAid Week 2019 takes place from 23-29 September. You can register for the #MyMiles Challenge via Race Nation today. Race Nation also allows you to set up a sponsorship page, via Sports Giving, if you would like to raise funds through the Challenge.