On May 22 2022 Robert, Garth and Célia ran the Hackney Half Marathon to raise funds to Opening Doors and support LGBTQ+ over 50. We've asked them to tell us a bit more about their experience and what message they would give to other people who would like to do the same!

Together they've raised £3,089.61. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Garth Heron - raised £2392 πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

Why are you supporting Opening Doors?

I profoundly admire the work that the charity does: I feel older people do not get enough attention or support in general, and even more so in the case of LGBTQ+ people. The current older generation are statistically less likely to have children and may be estranged from their siblings so they are more likely to lack support networks. Even when they are not completely alone it’s important to have a variety of new people in your life and I think intergenerational friendships are really beneficial to both parties. 

What did you find the most rewarding part of doing the Hackney Marathon?

Knowing that I was raising money for the charity and that friends had been sufficiently impressed by Opening Doors’s work to give so generously, as the work speaks for itself.

How long have you been training for?

I’ve been increasing my runs since the new year but I only really made huge progress in the final month, when I knew the pressure was mounting!

What message would you give other people wanting to raise money for Opening Doors?

It’s such an incredible organisation doing brilliant work, and there are so many ways one could raise money for them - not just running 21km! Any money raised goes to ensuring that lonely older LGBTQ+ people have a bit more company in their lives, and that is something to strive towards. 

Robert Allan - raised £258 πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

How did you first get involved with Opening Doors?

I’ve known about Opening Doors’ work for a few years and a couple of my friends have even volunteered as helpers, but I hadn’t been involved myself before now. I was looking through a list of charities I could fundraise for with the half marathon and couldn’t have found a more worthwhile charity to support.

What motivated you to run the Hackney Half Marathon?

I’ve been getting into running since last summer, mainly as a way of keeping healthy - both mentally and physically - although I hadn’t done anything near to a half marathon before this year. I loved the idea of running down well-known streets I’m used to cycling and walking down with thousands of others, and the chance to raise some cash for charity!

What was the highlight of your experience?

The day of the race was a scorcher, so really any chance to get a drink of water or get hosed down by a spectator in their front garden was a plus! It was such an amazing atmosphere and there were people cheering all along the course which was just really lovely. The highlight though was seeing loads of pride flags out on display - every time I saw one it made me so happy and let me forget how much pain my body was in, even just for a few seconds…

How do you think Opening Doors impacts the lives of LGBTQ+ people over the age of 50?

I’ve been really lucky to have some really meaningful intergenerational queer friendships in my life, and I’ve learned so much from my LGBT+ elders. Unfortunately, those same people can sometimes become isolated from social groups and family later in life, so the work that Opening Doors does to help them get out and build new friendships and social networks is really essential. I’m so glad I could give back in a small way!

Célia- raised £439.61 πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

How did you hear about Opening Doors?

To be completely honest, I'd never heard of Opening Doors before deciding to run the Hackney Half. I knew I wanted to run for a LGBT charity so I went through the list of partners of the event and after doing a little bit of research, I decided to contact OD asking about fundraising opportunities.

Why did you choose to run the Hackney Half Marathon?

My coworker roped me into it! I have been running regularly for a couple of years and I participated in my first race (a 10k) last October. The Hackney Half was my very first official half marathon, even though I'd already run the distance on my own on a couple of occasions. I like Hackney and I lived and worked in East London for several years, so persuading me to take part wasn't very hard. The scale of the event made it quite exciting too, you don't get to run alongside 15000 people every day.

What was the most challenging part of doing the challenge?

The heat, definitely. I knew that an end of May race date meant the weather was likely to be warm, but running (mostly) in the sun for nearly 2 hours was still a lot harder than anticipated... It was absolutely worth it though, I had a great experience overall and the encouragement from everybody who donated to my fundraiser gave me some extra motivation.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to do something similar in the future?

Get some friends to come and cheer you on, it really helps. Also make sure you bring your own water and energy gels.