Right To Play’s Partnerships Executive, Jake Sawer, and his dad Martin, Executive Director at Healthcare Distribution Association, are running the London Marathon next month. This father and son duo have chosen to fundraise for both Right To Play and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JRDF). This will be Jake’s first marathon. Martin, however, is an expert as this will be his eighth! Jake grew up seeing his father compete in marathons and he decided it would be a great opportunity to join him and for them to train and fundraise together.
Right To Play is a charity close to both father and son. Martin explained that in the past he has run for UK based charities and wanted to do something different this time, “I think it’s important for us to realise how lucky we are here in the UK, and actually to think of people in other countries, particularly the children displaced because of the horrible things happening in their countries,” Martin said. One of the main reasons Martin is passionate about supporting Right To Play is due to the focus on supporting girls in programmes, especially since many of the countries across Africa, Asia and the Middle East where Right To Play operates, do not always value the importance of girls getting an education.
They have also chosen the JRDF as one of the charities to support, in order to help the organisation raise awareness around diabetes, and more specifically about type one diabetes which is less well known. Having a close family member affected by diabetes, they have witnessed first-hand how it can impact a person’s life. “We are very passionate about raising funds for a charity that is helping to progress the development of technology and research into finding potential cures,” Jake says. They both trust the two charities to use the funds they raise effectively and efficiently.
Jake and Martin recently participated in the Hampton Court half marathon. They believe it’s important to practice running with other people in masses, as it’s a very different experience compared to running on your own. Martin, who runs regularly, also says that a training session should not exceed 20 miles as the body can take up to one month to recover running over this length.
The main challenge for the Sawers on 22 April will be running the London Marathon together with a target of achieving a finish time under four hours. “As much as we’re excited about running the London marathon, at different times we’ll feel terrible and we’ll have to help each other get through it,” Martin said. Nonetheless, they are both looking forward to the day of the race and “the atmosphere and energy of the crowd on the day of the event is exhilarating,” Martin added.
The father and son are enjoying preparing for the marathon together, as they can update each other on their training and keep each other motivated. They have also both been making dietary changes such as cutting out junk food, alcohol and trying to eat healthier in general. Jake has benefited from drinking shots of beetroot juice which helps the body by lowering the blood pressure and building up stamina.
Jake and Martin also appreciate and recognise the value of sports, whether it’s for entertainment, the development of life skills or to improve your health. Martin in particular, has always dedicated a lot of his time to participating in sports. He playing field hockey for 30 years, and values team sports and the inspiring feeling of achieving goals together. Once he stopped playing field hockey, he started running regularly “it’s become my yoga, I go running and my mind starts wandering, ideas just pop into my head randomly.”
In 1998 Martin used to regularly run with Nike runners, who organised free events with coaches and marathon runners to talk about their experiences. This gave him the idea to challenge himself by participating in his first marathon in 2000. Martin says he would advise anyone thinking of running a marathon to decide a year ahead before competing, in order to give your body the necessary time to get used to running regularly. Another key piece of advice is to take it seriously - your body will need a lot of practice, stretching, sleep and dietary changes.
We wish Jake and Martin the best of luck with their training and competing on the day. If you would like to support them with a donation, please visit their fundraising page here