Sophie runs the Hackney Half Marathon in aid of Campaign Bootcamp

Last Sunday I completed my first half marathon in aid of Campaign Bootcamp!

Each International Women’s Day, I try to think of something to do that will support women and non-binary people. As most of my activism centres around working with people who have experienced sexual and domestic violence, I like to do work that acknowledges and supports survivors. Every March, I usually get involved through speaking on panels, organising events, and supporting the work of other women and non-binary people I know or admire.

This year, I wanted to do something a bit different! I saw that places were being advertised for the half marathon in Hackney, so I decided to sign up, with the plan to raise money for a scholarship for our Bootcamp training programme.

I don’t really enjoy running, and to be honest I rarely exercise, but it seemed like a good opportunity to fundraise. Everyone loves to support someone challenging themselves!

So once I’d signed up, the next step was to decide what the scholarship was going to be for. When we run a Bootcamp training, we fundraise for types of campaigners and activists we identify as needing support. When deciding what kind of campaigner I wanted to support, I thought back to why I applied to Bootcamp.

When I was in my early to mid twenties, I was in an abusive relationship for around five years. At various point before I left, I’d felt like I hadn’t been given the support I needed. I managed to escape, but I was left feeling hurt and angry. I was so disappointed with the systems I’d come across that hadn’t helped me, from the police to medical services. After leaving, this anger soon turned into motivation. I started to campaign, which led me to gain a place on Bootcamp.

I wanted to support someone like me, so I decided to fundraise specifically for a survivor of domestic and/or sexual violence to attend our next Bootcamp. To acknowledge not only the survivors who need support in campaigning on any issue – but also the important place Bootcamp had in my journey as a survivor activist.

Click here to chip in to help bring a survivor activist on camp

I’m really pleased to say that I started the race on Sunday with over £800 raised. This gave me good motivation to start running, despite not feeling prepared for the race. Whilst I was running I was thinking of all the great campaigners I’d met through camp who had come on scholarships, as well as survivor activists I know who might want to apply for this scholarship.

The atmosphere on the race was amazing! So many members of the community, and friends and family of race participants, took to the streets to show their support. Campaign Bootcamp’s Head of UK Programmes, Tara, also came to cheer me on, and I was able to get a quick selfie with her and her daughter as well!

Me, Tara, and her daughter Zora about 4 miles into the race

I crossed the finish line a couple of hours later, amazed that I’d achieved a half marathon at last! It’s something I’d always wanted to do, but I’d been waiting to find a cause I was really passionate about.

I’ve been so touched by the messages of support and donations I’ve got from friends, family, Bootcamp graduates and community members, and strangers, and I’m pleased to report I’ve raised over £1,000!

Despite the marathon being over, the work is not quite done yet! Each place on our Bootcamp programme costs £3,600 – that covers all of the training, the food, accommodation, and a year of follow up support, as well as access to our community, mentoring scheme, and other events.

So if you are able to – please chip in £1 or more, and share with your friends and family. Use the buttons below to support me in whatever way you are able:

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A big thank you to those who have supported me! I can’t wait to meet the person who will benefit from this scholarship, and in the meantime, I’m going to get some rest!

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