“Our family has been so lucky to have had SNAP’s support for a decade”
Caitlin has known SNAP for well over a decade after her parents found the charity for support with her younger brother, Jack. She has taken part in the last nine years of SIBS Week and now works as Services Support Assistant at the Centre. She wanted to do something extra for the charity so decided she’d challenge herself with a half marathon…
What inspired you to take on a fundraising challenge for SNAP?
SNAP have been a lifeline for my brother and our family. We are so lucky to have had their support for 10 years and I wanted to do something in return. Although one run will not be enough compared to what SNAP have done for us, raising money will mean more families can further benefit from SNAP’s services.
How did you decide to raise money by taking on the Brentwood Half Marathon?
I wanted to challenge myself to something I haven’t done before. I thought what better way to raise money for SNAP! It also meant I couldn’t back out of doing the run as too many people knew I was doing it!!
Did you have any running distances experience?
When I was younger, my mum, dad, sister and myself did the Brentwood fun run for a few years. I remember seeing the half marathon runners and thinking I want to do that one day. I did a lot of running at school and at the local athletics club but when I went to university the party lifestyle soon took over. During lockdown I picked up running again but never ran as far as a half marathon!
How did you go about preparing for the run?
I found a half marathon training plan online that suited my current ability and lifestyle. This involved running three times a week. I also spoke to people who have done the Brentwood half before so I could get an idea of what to expect – “get some hill training in” was a very common answer!
How did you go about fundraising for your challenge?
I set up a just giving page. Where I worked at the time were so supportive, they had a money box in our staff room and staff were drawing bets for my time in exchange for prizes! I also led an “autism awareness/acceptance” day at work as the race coincided with autism awareness week. This raised awareness of autism but also support services in the local area, so this was another good opportunity to sing snaps praises!
Was the event what you expected on the day?
I didn’t know what to expect for a half marathon let alone an event post covid so I went in there with an open – mind. However, the queues for the toilets were as expected!
How did you find the run?
I loved the scenery in the nearby villages but I did not like the hills! The atmosphere was incredible and definitely something you don’t experience in training! It was lovely wearing a SNAP t-shirt because people I had never met before, but clearly knew about SNAP, were cheering me on. It gave me that extra boost!
What time did you run and was that what you hoped to run it in?
Before the race I wanted to run it sub 2 hours but during the race and especially towards the end I was just happy to complete it! So I was pleasantly surprised to find I ran it in 1 hour and 51 minutes.
How did you celebrate afterwards?
My grandad did a barbecue that I demolished! The rest of the day I made sure I took advantage of my legs “aching” to get my family to do things for me – it certainly didn’t last long though!
How has SNAP supported you as an individual and your family?
What I love about SNAP is they support the family too. SIBS week in the summer is the highlight of the year for me and my sisters, a week just for us as siblings. I have met life long friends through this amazing week. It’s very rare you can connect with a group of people who just understand!
SNAP take away the stress from the overwhelming forms my parents had to fill in, from getting a statement (now EHCP) to school support, SNAP were vital at those times. Even now, if we are puzzled about something, we’re like “let’s ring SNAP, they’ll know” and they ALWAYS do know!
Would you recommend taking on a charity challenge for SNAP?
Absolutely! For starters, the amazing SNAP team are always there to cheer you on at the start and finish! Even though I ran alone, I didn’t feel lonely as I had so much support from SNAP, my family and other supporters pre, during and post race!