#MKruns262 update no. 2: Interviewing Sense CEO, Richard Kramer

This is the January’s update in my monthly #MKruns262 series, where I keep myself accountable (and you updated) about my biggest fitness challenge yet — running the London Marathon 2019 for the charity Sense. For this one, I interviewed Sense CEO, Richard Kramer and worked behind the bar of Leather Lane’s Good and Proper Tea.

The format of #MKruns262 is simple: First, I write a quick note about my challenge itself — in today’s case, it’s an interview with my charity’s CEO. Then, I’m write an update on my training. The third bit is be all about fundraising. I’d love to honour those who have already contributed to my campaign and write on what I’ve done in the last month.

💡Interview with Richard Kramer, Chief Executive at national disability charity, Sense

Exploring running, training, and the charity I’m supporting. 

Richard was appointed Sense and Sense International Chief Executive in July 2018, having joined as Deputy Chief Executive in 2013.

Prior to joining Sense, Richard worked at Turning Point, the social enterprise organisation, for ten years. He held a number of director-level posts, including leading the business function, Connected Care, which involved service users in the design and delivery of services across England.

I wanted to find out more about Richard’s role at Sense, and ask for some fundraising tips, and obviously, ask about running.

For those who haven’t heard of Sense, what does the charity do? 

We are here for everyone who is deafblind and for everyone living with complex disabilities.

We offer personalised support through our centres, holidays and short breaks, or in people’s own homes.

We are here for everyone who needs us, for as long as they need us – providing early intervention for children, helping young people access education, and supporting the transition into adulthood and beyond.

In addition to practical support, we also offer information to families, and campaign for the rights of people with complex disabilities to take part in life.

What’s your favourite part of your role at Sense? 

Like every CEO, I want to make a real difference and bring positive change for the people we support. Everything I do is focused on leading Sense to fulfil its vision that no one who is deafblind or has complex disabilities feels left out isolated or unable to fulfil their potential.

I know that supporters who come into contact with Sense really connect with us on an emotional level. Since I became CEO, we have put more energy into talking to our supporters and encouraging them to get more involved in our work.

We do remarkable things so it is a real pleasure to advocate and talk about the work we do, in how we meet need and the difference and impact we make.

Everything I do is focused on leading Sense to fulfil its vision that no one who is deafblind or has complex disabilities feels left out isolated or unable to fulfil their potential

What advice would you give to those fundraising for Sense? 

Start your fundraising early and don’t leave it to the last minute. Make sure you set up an online fundraising page. That way you can then start to circulate this to your family and friends. The Events Team provide you with a lot of fundraising information and are always on hand to help so just pick up the phone, email or pop in to see them.

I know you’re also a runner. What’s your favourite distance and why? 

My favourite distance is also my absolute limit – half a marathon. I stepped up from 10k to half a marathon when I joined Sense. I have now run five half marathons, the Great North Run, London Landmarks and Royal Park (three times). Whilst my finishing time has got progressively slower each time, it is outweighed by the overwhelming positive feeling of success and self-achievement each and every time.

You’ve previously said that “running is a metaphor for life.” But when training for the spring marathon, you’ve often have to train in an often miserable, autumn weather. How do you motivate yourself to go out and do your training?  

I remind myself that everyone whether they are a supreme trained athlete or an amateur runner like me, must always find that it’s difficult to motivate themselves, to get their running kit on, and to venture outside in the cold or rain. It’s the same feeling of ‘do I really need to do this’ every time. And then ten minutes later, once I have started to run, the lack of motivation is forgotten. The worst bit for me is waiting at the start line before the race starts, especially if I am shivering in the cold.

I remind myself that everyone whether they are a supreme trained athlete or an amateur runner like me, must always find that it’s difficult to motivate themselves.

Will you be there to support Team Sense on the big day of the London Marathon? 

Yes of course, I am there every year! We do have the best supporters across all the charities. I will be part of a sea of Sense orange cheering all the runners on particularly #TeamSense runners.

I will be at Cutty Sark – the 10k point. I will look out for you! In the meantime, good luck with the training.


🏃 Training

How much have I been running, playlist, and favourite podcasts.  

Overview

  • Runs in January: 26
  • Distance: 127 miles (204 km)
  • Time spent running: ~19 hours

 

If the activities list doesn’t display correctly, see my Strava profile: strava.com/athletes/26048045

What I’ve been listening to

This month, I also decided that if I’m spending 4-5 hours running, I could as well use it more productively. I now limit my music to only more tougher runs. Easy runs (which is the majority on my plan) are accompanied by podcasts. Some of my favourite listens include: 


💰 Fundraising

Update on what I’ve been doing to reach my fundraising goal.

At the time of writing, we’ve so far raised £893.51, which is 52 per cent of the goal. Here’s what I did:

  • Did a shift behind the bar of Good and Proper Tea — my favourite tea shop in town and place to read, write and consume Earl Grey with a brownie. Thank you for having me and for the generous donation after my shift to the whole team! 

Thank you

I wouldn’t have been where I am without the below people. Thank you ever so much for your contribution to: 

  • Chelsea Jobe
  • Richard Bailey
  • Pete and Ciara
  • Jake O’Neill
  • Ella Minty
  • Andreea Dascalu
  • Ivi
  • Kate
  • Mom and Dad
  • Grandma and Grandpa
  • The Wynnes
  • Mick
  • M. Bukowska
  • Good and Proper Tea
  • Claire Simpson

You can still sponsor my run. Every penny counts and I’d much appreciate your help! Let’s do it together — for Sense: MKruns262.co.uk

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If you have any suggestions, would like to guest post or give me a feedback, feel free to email me at kl.marcel [at] gmail.com, tweet me @marcelkl or connect with me on LinkedIn. Thanks for stopping by, have a splendid day!