While most people make new friends by asking others for coffee I tried a different approach and asked Alison for a run. Who would have known then that several years on we would be regular running partners pounding the streets and footpaths while building on our friendship and organising running events.
I had always run a fair bit but moving to the country from London brought with it the new delights of cross-country training; taking in the peace and local scenery. Alison seemed like a likely candidate to show me round and my hunch proved correct when she planned all our marathon training routes- designed for variety as well as distance.
An advocate of the simple pleasure and ‘feel-good’ factor of running led me to gain a qualification as a Leader in Running Fitness and I set up a local running group. The group has helped forge friendships and been a real delight in allowing me to share in others development as runners taking some from zero to Half Marathon.
Our initial foray into race organisation, ‘Bourn to Run’, was a great experience and we raised nearly £20,000 for the school over our time as race ‘directors’. While Alison’s children have finished at the school, hence the setting up of hoohaah, I am still very much involved behind the scenes both with the organising and training others to take part.
I still run, despite losing my navigator, and take part in many local events; a firm favourite being the St Neots half-marathon and Chariots of Fire.
I started out as a reluctant runner being dragged along for a ‘walk-run’ experience to get a bit fitter while taking our young dog out for a bit of exercise too. Fast forward a few years later and I’d met Hannah and been encouraged to run a bit further and a bit faster!
Little by little the miles ran away with me and I started to set goals; 10km to start with increasing to half-marathons. A chat around one of those 10kms led to Hannah and I deciding to put on ‘Bourn to Run’ to raise money for our children’s school. Three years later hoohaah was born; consolidating our love of race planning and organising into a more formal business.
Meanwhile, Hannah threw down the gauntlet in the form of gaining a ballot place for the London Marathon. Being told I was to be her training partner led me to get a charity place- if I was going to train then I knew I’d have to have a go! 2011 saw us both complete the Marathon; an experience I will never forget.
Sadly, in May 2013 I suffered a prolapsed disc and sciatica which lead to an operation in October 2013. Despite many efforts to get back to running it has been a real struggle with repeated set-backs. The impact that running puts on my back means I have pretty much retired from running. The young dog is now a much older lady and relieved to just be walking rather than running too.
Not to be out of lycra for too long though I have bought a bicycle and 2016 and onwards is the start of a new sporting venture – you never know hoohaah might organise a cycle ride next as a result.
Alison and Hannah organised Bourn to Run 10k and 3k fun runs from 2008 to 2010. This gave them a unique experience in organising and executing charity events.
hoohaah held it’s first event on the 20th May 2012; The Wimpole 10km hoohaah. The event was a sell out with more than 550 runners signing up to take part. The event was held to raise funds for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA). The total funds raised from the event for the charity (including gift aid) was just over £8000. Since then hoohaah has gone on to add more race venues as well as a variety of different distances from 5km to half-marathons. In addition, hoohaah have raised money for a host of different charities including The British Heart Foundation, Marie Curie, the Teenage Cancer Trust and East Anglian Children’s Hospice (EACH) and NSPCC. Since hoohaah first began they have raised over £60,000 for charity.
While now, largely concentrating on running events, hoohaah have also put on a Gala dinner in December 2012 at King’s College Cambridge for the EAAA which was a tremendous success raising £17,000 for the charity.
hoohaah choose a charity to support each year. In supporting a charity we include an option for runners to make a donation to our chosen charity when entering our runs via our online entry form. We include the charity name and number on our marketing material and website and mention them in our social media. In return for supporting a charity we ask that the charity provides us with marshals at our events and engage in reciprocal social media to help promote our runs. Charities are able to have a presence at each of our runs which is actively encouraged to help raise awareness of our chosen charity.