Dan Jones, our Campaigns Manager, on the final weeks of training for the London Marathon. Dan is running for RESULTS UK, and you can support him here

London Marathon programme
The London Marathon final programme lands on my doorstep – no going back now.

It’s official – there’s only one week left before I’ll be (without any doubt whatsoever) out-pacing Mo Farah, Wilson Kipsang, Geoffrey Mutai et al as I triumph over the 26.2 miles of the London Marathon, in support of RESULTS UK. And I’m definitely feeling *The Fear*.

Training has been hard. The lowest point was at about 7am one Saturday morning, when after a long week at work I woke, put on my trainers and prepared for my longest training run of 22 miles. It took me just under four hours which, frankly, is just a ridiculous amount of time to spend running.

It has to be said though that as I’ve trained for my second ever marathon, it’s been a lot better than last time around. Two years ago, I was training for the Kilimanjaro marathon in Tanzania. At the time, I was living in Nairobi, Kenya where training runs were particularly challenging for a number of reasons. Firstly, we had to get up at about 6am in order to finish training runs before it got too hot (not really a problem in old blighty). Then, there was the lack of pavements and crazy traffic in Nairobi. I became adept at leaping pot holes, dodging through unpredictable traffic jams and purple exhaust fumes.  On one occasion, I took a wrong  turn through a slum, much to the bemusement of onlookers.Yeah, not really the same as running on the suburban streets of Hertfordshire. And then of course there was the fact that the marathon itself was mainly uphill – the clue, I suppose, was in the title. At least this time I know it’s fairly flat.

Dan running in Berkhamsted Half Marathon
Feeling the pain during the recent Berkhamsted Half Marathon (just a “light” training run)

Last time around, I was raising money for a small Kenyan NGO Special Education Professionals that I worked with in Nairobi, who brought together disability specialists including special needs teachers, speech and language therapists and occupational therapists to support children with disabilities and their parents in low income areas like the informal settlements.

This time, I’m raising money for RESULTS! But it’s great to feel that our work is still changing the lives of those same marginalised children. As a concrete example, I’ve been proud to be part of RESULTS’ campaigning to strengthen the focus of UK aid on supporting education for children with disabilities. We have been campaigning literally for years on this issue. Our amazing network of grassroots advocates have written to their MPs, been to Parliament and engaged Team GB’s famous Paralympians on this issue. We’ve worked with hundreds of other organisations, organised events for MPs, gained media coverage and submitted evidence to a Parliamentary inquiry. It can sometimes be hard to see the tangible results that RESULTS achieves, but on this issue, we have seen huge progress. Last year DFID Minister Lynne Featherstone MP announced new commitments including that all new schools built with direct UK support in developing countries would be built accessible to children with disabilities. She then visited Uganda with Paralympian and broadcaster Ade Adepitan to raise the profile of the issue further. Later this week, Parliament’s inquiry on disability and development will publish its report and we sincerely hope that that will go further and include strong recommendations for DFID to do more to ensure UK aid is inclusive of people with disabilities.

That’s an example of our impact that I’m particularly proud of, but I could just as easily have talked about our role in securing millions of pounds for life-saving global programmes to find and treat tuberculosis or to tackle under-nutrition in developing countries, or our current advocacy to ensure a successful replenishment of the Global Partnership for Education, which will deliver a quality education for millions of children.

So I’m feeling proud to be running the London Marathon for RESULTS. With one week to go, I’m excited, nervous, fairly injury-free and, well, terrified. But that’s normal isn’t it?!

Please support this crazy endeavour and help me reach my fundraising target of £1,000 for RESULTS UK. You can donate online at http://www.everyclick.com/danrunslondon.

(also, if anyone is in London for the marathon on Sunday, do cheer me on – I’ll be grimacing and wearing a RESULTS T-shirt)