Pushing myself to the limits for Scotty’s!
If you’re looking for a fundraising event that will really push you out of your comfort zone then, like Scott Allan, the Spartan races and a 200-mile volcanic cross country might be for you.
Scott is a keen runner who helped as an instructor with the Air Training Corps before starting his own company in Edinburgh. Having lost friends serving in the Armed Forces, Scott wanted to really push himself to raise money to support the children they left behind.
We would say completing a staggering 18 Spartan races in addition to a gruelling 200-mile Norse run certainly counts as pushing himself!
Scott, tell us a bit about your fundraising event.
Over the year I have run 18 Spartan races in the UK and Europe – including the Sparta Trifecta World Championships in Greece. I started at the beginning of the year with just the UK races and then qualified for the others across Europe as the year progressed.
I also completed the Great Norse Run; a 200-mile race coast to coast across Iceland.
What did you have to do make your event happen?
It was all pretty easy for me really. I run my own company and set my own schedule so having the time to complete all the races wasn’t that challenging. The Spartan schedule comes out early in the year so I was able to plan and then as I qualified for further races, I fitted them in around other commitments where I could.
My girlfriend came along and raced a lot of the time which was a great support and I would book flights and accommodation with other runners from time to time to make it more efficient. I think this was a great way to do it, as I was able to make friends along the way.
How much did you raise and how did you achieve this?
So far, I have raised around £2400 on my Just Giving page and I think there is a few hundred more in the collection buckets, so the grand total is somewhere around £3000 (so far). I have more events planned for 2020 so this amount will go up.
The main thing I did to raise money was bother with people. I used social media a bit but for us it was having buckets at events the business was running and the staff speaking to people in the company show room about what I was doing that made the biggest impact.
While I was in Iceland, I filmed a daily vblog which helped raise a lot while I was out there when posted on social media.
What was the biggest challenge or problem that you came up against whilst fundraising and how did you overcome it?
I think for anyone trying to raise money now, the biggest challenge is how to stand out from the crowd. Everyone is raising money for something and just doing one race or event isn’t enough. I made the decision to push myself as far as I could to raise awareness for what I was doing and for Scotty’s, and I think the thing that really helped in the end was the 200-miles in Iceland. I even did another Spartan Trifecta Weekend just 5 days after I arrived back home.
Having said that, once you explain why you are raising money, people are pretty sympathetic so often give generously anyway.
What would be your advice to someone else who is trying to raise funds?
Don’t always go for the obvious choice – think outside the box. I think raising money face-to-face works better than social media and doing an event where you can give someone an experience also works really well – even if it’s just a coffee morning, making them a part of it helps to generate a feeling of community and that their contributions are helping to make a difference.
What made you decide to raise funds for Scotty’s Little Soldiers?
I had heard of Scotty’s Little Soldiers through friends who served in the military. I lost a few friends in Afghanistan who left children behind so Scotty’s is a charity that is close to my heart.
Scotty’s is an amazing charity and when I bumped into them at my first race of the year, I decided that I would support the charity with my events in 2019.
18 Spartan races alone is no mean feat. How and why did you choose to take on so many races?
The Spartan races chose me really. Ironically, I’m not a great runner as I have joint problems. I can cover distance but I’m not very fast. I also do quite a bit of weightlifting, so the Spartan events fit nicely with my strengths.
I did the Great Norse Run to see how far I could push myself. I find that everyone is doing something to raise money and you must do something special to really stand out.
How did the event go and how did you feel afterwards?
I didn’t really know what to expect when we were in Iceland, I am used to running in bad weather and on the hills around Edinburgh but my biggest concern was running everyday back to back with wet clothes and shoes – which can be incredibly painful. But it wasn’t too bad at all in the end. There was snow the week before and after but the week I was there, it held off.
I was a bit concerned about spending so much time with a group of people who didn’t know each other as egos sometimes get involved but the sense of working together to get everyone through seemed to push all that aside.
The only real problem for me was that I miscalculated how much food I would need – I was burning between 5,000 and 6,000 calories a day and only taking in around 2,000-2,500 so I lost a 4 kilos of weight during the 10 days it took.
Afterwards, I was obviously very tired and I got shin splints with around 10k to go, but at the end I had a huge sense of achievement, not just for myself but for the other runners some of whom had never done more than a 10k.
It was incredibly uplifting to see everyone finish. And I can’t have felt that bad as I went on to do another Spartan in Buckinghamshire the following week.
I’m not stopping there either. Next year I will be running across the Sahara…