by Taylor Richardson
One of PGS’ own, Lewis Chalk, is involved in the
London Marathon next month, raising money for Epilepsy Bereaved, one of the leading voluntary organisations fighting to prevent death from SUDEP. (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy).
On the 21st April this year, the 33rd annual London Marathon will be taking place and one of PGS’ own teaching staff will be running. Lewis Chalk, Head of ICT, is a passionate runner who has taken part in around 100 races to date, including six marathons. All marathons are 26.2 miles (rounded) though they do vary in difficulty according to the number of runners, the size of the crowds and the incline of the ground.
|Mr Chalk and his brother|
Mr Chalk’s main reason for starting to run is a personal reason as it is down to his younger brother. His brother is currently 18, but 5 years ago, when he was 13, he had a terrible football accident in which he tripped and injured his knee joint. The night of the incident, Mr Chalk stayed over at the hospital with him, which is when his brother told him to take part in the London Marathon. Mr Chalk wanted to lose weight and get his football career back so he had begun to do some runs, but the suggestion of the London Marathon was a great motivator and a goal for him to strive to achieve.
In 2008, he took part in his first race, which was a half- marathon. Mr Chalk came thirtieth in this race, which was when somebody told him “You’d be really good if you lost some weight.” This was the first point at which he realised that he was good at running and had the potential to become a brilliant runner. Anyone can see that he has incorporated a huge part of his life into this between that moment and now.
“When running, I feel like I’m making the most of my life”
It is clear now that he is extremely passionate about running, which is shown through his desire to help charities and to become fit enough to try to get back to peak fitness. He says that he does not want to waste his life and, through effort and encouragement, running provides a powerful sense of achievement.
In terms of the charity, Epilepsy Bereaved’s aim is to prevent SUDEP and this has a personal connection to Mr Chalk. His best friend’s younger sister, Rebecca, passed away in June due to an epileptic seizure and he is extremely close to the family. He witnessed the strain of Rebecca’s loss, leading him to realise that running can help others as well as himself through fundraising, awareness and remembrance. This is why he has chosen to raise money for Epilepsy Bereaved.
In terms of preparation for the London Marathon, Mr Chalk has been running for five years now. One of his previous marathons was the Amsterdam Marathon in October 2012, during which he achieved his personal best marathon time of 2 hours and 36 minutes – a time that is in the top 0.5% percent of the country. He evaluated his decision of entering the London Marathon over the Christmas break and has been training since January 1st with a vigorous programme of 90-100 miles per week. Practising in smaller doses, such as 10 kilometre runs, is great preparation physically and mentally in terms of confidence and strength.
To anyone considering taking up running as a hobby or competitively, Mr Chalk says, “Don’t be burdened by targets or what other people’s expectations are. Do it because you enjoy it.” You can see that the fulfilment of helping himself and others through running seems to have a hugely positive effect on the mind. He advises would-be runners to speak to experienced runners for advice and hold on to that reason for starting throughout all of your running. I am sure that, if you would like to speak to a runner, Mr Chalk would be more than happy to provide first-hand knowledge.
Anyone can support the charity through: www.justgiving.com/26miles4rebecca
Every little helps towards a greater sum and there will also be a Cake Sale on the 18th and 19th April, during break and lunch in the Quad at PGS. While the London Marathon is under way, you can check Mr Chalk's progress on the athlete tracker that will be up on the school website on 21st April.
On a final note, Mr Chalk hopes for good weather and support to help spur him on – when the pressure builds up, all he has to remember is he is running for a magnificent cause and people will benefit from the money he is raising.