Jen Durkin

Jen Durkin with her London Marathon medal

Jen Durkin

Jen is a keen runner who completed the London Marathon to fundraise for us.

Method of fundraising

London Marathon

Why did you decide to fundraise?

I decided to raise money for the Euan MacDonald Centre because it is a cause close to my heart. Within my first couple of weeks working at Development & Alumni I was fortunate to meet Euan and Donald MacDonald during an event at Sport & Exercise. Straight away I was struck by what lovely lovely people they were and we immediately found a common interest in our love of rugby.

Euan was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in 2003 and it was a generous donation to the University that enabled the establishment of the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research. Euan is not only a lovely man with a great sense of humour but he is an inspiration to everyone he meets.

Not only does Euan help drive cutting edge research at the Euan MacDonald Centre, he also established Euan’s Guide (with his sister Kiki) a website which offers reviews of accessible venues throughout the world.

Today I seem to hear of increasing numbers of people both in the media and through friends and family who are diagnosed with MND. I chose to fundraise for this cause because I wanted to support the vital research work being carried out by wonderful and committed scientists at Edinburgh University who are determined to make progress in the battle against the devastating effects of MND.

How did you raise the money?

I am a keen runner and I probably talk far too much about running pretty much all of the time. After completing my first marathon in 2012, my running buddy Amy and I decided to put our names in the ballot for the 2014 London Marathon, and we were delighted to both get in.

Once our training schedule was decided, it was time to consider which charity I would run for. I knew that my lovely friends and family would be keen to sponsor me so there was no doubt about whether I would fundraise or not. It was an easy decision to fundraise for the Euan MacDonald Centre and my colleague Kerry helped me set up the JustGiving donation page.

Once the page was set up I posted the link to it on Facebook along with a cheery picture of me and Amy after our last marathon. I also emailed friends and family who I knew would be keen to sponsor me, and work colleagues too. I did all of this a couple of months before the big day in April. This gave me plenty of time to send a few subtle reminders in the lead up. Unfortunately for them, there was never a possibility that people would forget about me running the marathon as it was probably all I ever talked about.

Training went well and, despite a few niggles which sorted themselves out with the help of some sports massage and physio appointments, I was all set for the big day. The London Marathon was epic, no further description required and seeing Mo Farah sprint past on the other side of the road at mile 13 was awesome. I was so happy and very pleasantly surprised at people’s generosity helping me raise over £1200. What better way to motivate you through the miles in both training and on the day itself than knowing that you're raising money for such a vital cause.

Fundraising wisdom: 

Pick a challenge and a cause that will inspire you to put in the hard work and push through the tough times. Never doubt other people’s generosity and how much appreciated your fundraising is, no matter how big or small. Finally, enjoy the experience!