Meet Imran Razzaq – a 45 year old, who is a Director of Cloud Services at Microsoft. For the past two year’s Imran has put his body on (and over the line) to complete the gruelling 26.2 miles of the London Marathon for UK Youth. During this time Imran has managed to raise a total of £21,000 for UK Youth – helping us to support young people throughout the UK.
We decided that we would put Imran back through his pace’s and ask him how he got through the Marathon experience (twice!)
Why did you decide to run the London Marathon?
Well, not only is it a very good challenge, but it is also a motivation to get fit. I also wanted to do something useful which helped my local community and those who are less fortunate than myself.
Why did you chose to run in support of UK Youth?
I have been supporting UK Youth through the Microsoft IT Youth Hubs programme as an advisor to one of the hubs, and I received an e-mail from the fundraising team inviting me and the Microsoft Staff to run the marathon, and before I knew it I was signed up and putting my running shoes on!
How did you fundraise for the event?
I sent out a personalised e-mail to friends and colleagues highlighting the important work that UK Youth do and the challenges that young people in the UK face today. I also described the involvement of Microsoft through the IT Youth Hubs programme, and included web links to the UK Youth website and the local youth group I was involved with at the Westminster House Youth Hotel. This helped colleagues and friends see that I was running for an admirable cause and the impact their donations would have in helping young people.
What was your favourite part of the day itself?
The best part would definitely have to be seeing my family at the end, getting the much coveted London Marathon medal and having the opportunity to celebrate my achievement with them! They were stationed at miles 9 and 19, so their great support really helped to keep me going. There’s also a great camaraderie between runners – hearing people’s stories and the causes they are supporting. Having the personalised running vest means that other supporters are cheering your name along the way which is fantastic – it really is the most humbling experience!
How did you train for the Marathon?
I was starting from scratch so to achieve the 26 mile goal, I had to build up my fitness slowly and bit by bit. I put together a realistic training regime with clear goals to achieve at different stages of my training. I’m not going to lie, it requires a lot of discipline and motivation to stick to it, especially with a hectic and busy lifestyle! One thing that was really important was to have a good recovery process – physio sessions were invaluable and enabled me to look after my body and avoid serious injury.
What was the most difficult part of the course?
I found miles 13 to 16 particular difficult, it’s a punishing stretch where you run down towards Canary Wharf – some people say there’s a “Runners Wall” at the 20 mile mark, but those were the most difficult for me. Luckily the crowd were fantastic and helped to carry me through!
What support did you have from UK Youth?
I spoke regularly with the UK Youth fundraising team, who helped enter me into events for #TeamUKYouth prior to the marathon. There were also meetings with professional runners that gave me helpful advice and tips for preparation – these were invaluable and really helped my training progress.
What support did you have from your colleagues/ friends/family/ company?
My wife was fantastic – she was incredibly supportive, helping make sure I had clean kit to wear for training, and spurring me on the day itself. Also my colleagues at Microsoft were great as they really got behind me and the cause, helping me to exceed the fundraising target I set myself. Microsoft also matched my personal fundraising which was incredibly generous.
What advice would you give someone considering running the London Marathon next year?
Do it! It will be one of the greatest experiences you have. You need to be rigorous about getting a training regime together and getting fit, but also making sure you don’t overdo it by managing your recovery. Make sure any injury is tended to as soon as possible, otherwise it will only get worse.
Enjoy the day it goes very quickly but it’s a phenomenal, magical experience and you will feel a great sense of achievement that will stay with you.
The team at UK Youth would like to extend their thanks once more for the incredible work Imran has done in both finishing the London Marathon and the colossus funds he has raised for us over the years. If you have been inspired by Imran and would like to run this year’s London Marathon on behalf of UK Youth then you can apply for one of our guaranteed places here.