IMG 6644

Chris Roberts is running the Bath Half and the Brighton Marathon for I CAN!

Hi. I’m Christopher Roberts, from Washington State (U.S.). I’m a volunteer at I CAN’s Meath School and have been here since September 2013.

To begin, I’ll say what first started as a means to an end, has become a means in and of itself. Through my studies back home, I caught word of an opportunity to volunteer abroad. As a man who is constantly looking to bolster his CV, it seemed like a great opportunity to help me get into a competitive honor’s program back home. I obviously agreed to the terms, that I would volunteer for the school year and then come home. However, I had no idea what I would be getting myself into. What at first seemed so foreign and unfamiliar to me, having never worked with children with specific education needs, has since become a piece of me. What started out as a means to really only serve my goals, has evolved into me wanting to help the children and staff in whatever capacity I can – and one of those ways I can help, is by my gift of running and attempting to raise some funds and bring awareness to what I CAN offers to children and families in need of specialized education. As the weeks moved by, I found myself becoming more and more attached, but also more passionate about the work that I’m involved in. It’s helped bring things into a proper perspective, and while I’ll never fully understand the plight of the families and children, I can at, the least help and along the way, bring some sort of comfort to the struggles that many of the children have. I walk into the classroom every day with a smile on my face, because of what I’m a part of. In fact, I wear a smile so often, one of the staffers recently told me, “Chris, you’ve always got a smile on your face. It suits you well mate!”. He asked me why I’m always smiling, and I told him that I get to be a part of something great and get an opportunity to make an impact on lives. I think having a smile helps the children to enjoy their education experience and also keeps me in a positive place every day. That’s not to say some days are rough! However, I think that it’s those rough days, that make the others seem so lovely and it truly is a joy to see the children, and an even greater joy when there’s the breakthrough moments after long hours hard work, by both the pupils and staff. Sometimes, in order to enjoy the sweet, you have to go through the bitter.

Early on there came a moment, when I discovered I CAN does sponsorship for running spots. I thought, “Sweet! I love running. I’ll have to find out about this . . . !”. And that’s when the next part comes in.

As a part of my evolved perspective, I agreed to be sponsored by I CAN and recently ran in the Bath Half marathon under their sponsorship. Towards the end, for the last two miles, I would hear the occasional, “I CAN! YOU CAN! GO GO GO!” which helped get my mind off the race for a moment and remember why I am volunteering, truly, and enjoy the moment.

Throughout the season of training, I’ve been plagued with recurring injuries. From a strained Achilles Tendon around Christmas Holiday, to calf injuries and now the runner’s badge of honor, The Black Toe, sign of the distance runner; it’s been a rough and inconsistent training season. This, coupled with severe inclement weather and downright grim weather, doesn’t exactly motivate to get out in the dark, windy, cold rain and log a 13 mile training run. But it must be done. And part of the encouragement comes from my grit, but also from the fact that I am held accountable by what I agreed to do and I’m overjoyed to log that 13 mile run (I convince myself that it’s not grim, and that it’s a lovely summer morning haha). I’m back on track and feeling very healthy and confident and will soon begin my taper for the next three weeks leading up to the Brighton Marathon!

So far, I’ve surpassed my original goal of £360 and flew past my £500 stretch goal. I’m now closely approaching my second stretch goal of £700 and may extend it to £1000 if I can network enough. Not really having much time, between a full-time workload, studying for my uni classes, and training, my main source of fundraising has been by simply asking. I’ve sent messages, used social networking and made fliers. If you find yourself wanting to help, you can visit my fundraising page at:

www.justgiving.com/christopher-roberts6

Every £1, 3, 5 or 10 goes miles!

If you feel inspired by Chris’s story and want to run a half marathon or take on a challenge for I CAN then why not take a look at what events we have coming up here!