Jane Bateman – Our First Bobby’s Champion

Many people don’t like running. But I do. It’s exercise, of course, but it’s also a release, a distraction, thinking time. When weather permits, it’s also the joy of fresh air (if you can call London’s air fresh); it’s liberating and it’s fun.

Once a year, I run for more serious fun by taking part in the London 10k, which grandly starts and finishes outside Buckingham Palace. This year was the fifth year I’ve taken part, raising over £30,000 for various charities.

I’m immensely proud that running for Sir Bobby Charlton’s charity this year generated half that sum. I was fortunate: a company saw that I was running for Sir Bobby and ten thousand pounds landed in my JustGiving account, just like that, and it felt GREAT.

Running for Sir Bobby is a great thing to do in itself. Our finest living footballer and one of football’s greatest ambassadors, he is quite literally a living legend. But it was his human side that beamed through a decade ago when, despatched to Cambodia as a Laureus Sport for Good Ambassador, he bore witness to so many people who had been desperately affected by landmines and was moved to do something about it.

You too can choose to do something about it. If you choose to raise money for Sir Bobby, you are not only recognising his humanity, but actively making a contribution to the fight against landmines, and to playing some part in improving the lives of the millions left disabled and traumatised by these vicious remnants of war.

When I take part in activities for charities, it’s not all about the money – it’s about raising awareness for their work, which is just as important. You feel like you are not doing much, but actually running for Sir Bobby’s charity made me feel of some value to their endeavours in tackling landmines and their terrible consequences. It was an education too – I had no idea that over 60 million people still live at risk from landmines and unexploded bombs in the world, nor that in Cambodia alone there is still an average of one death or injury every single week – one death or injury that can devastate a family and a community. Who knew.

I very much believe that any small part you play in supporting a cause like this is a valuable part. And there are other benefits too. Doing any kind of activity for charity provides you with a genuine purpose. If it’s something physically challenging, you cannot not prepare for it. Many a morning, I’d rather have had that extra half hour in bed before work than get dressed for a rain-soaked jog along the Thames. But I ran out of time, I had to train because I had a purpose.

Taking part in the London 10k is fun, running alongside others with their own motivations and sharing the camaraderie in the desire to raise awareness and funds for important causes. Completing the run this year gave me a triple sense of achievement – achieving for myself, achieving for the people who sponsored me, and achieving for Sir Bobby and his charity. It was a win-win-win.

If you have the opportunity to take part in an event where you can raise funds for a charity, please think of becoming one of Sir Bobby’s Champions and supporting this great cause.