Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing, it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.
― Mahatma Gandhi
Well it is 4 days until the London marathon, hopefully I have done enough training to get me over the finishing line, if so a lot of thanks has got to go to….the Leeds — Liverpool canal.
Every week, for the last 4 months, I have utilised the canal towpath for part of my training and it has always been a wildlife experience, a joy to run along, and it is on the door step to so many people in Pennine Lancashire.
Over the months I have seen, grey herons, Canadian geese, mute swans, mallards, kingfishers, pike (on an anglers line) and of course the beautiful rat. As the sun reaches higher in the sky and daylight hours increase, so have the buds on the overarching trees that run alongside the canal. Reed beds have heightened too, improving the habitats for many of our lesser seen insects and animals.
Without all of these pleasant distractions running would be a very mundane and boring pastime. It has been a learning opportunity for me personally, who knew that mute swans live for 20-30 years?
We are so fortunate that for most people in East Lancashire a 10 minute walk will have them reach a countryside footpath, or an access point to the canal towpath. These are all areas we should embrace more, educating ourselves, our families and friends, about the importance of looking after our green spaces and waterways.
I have done enough talking about the environment stuff. I should really explain why I am putting myself through the pain of a marathon. It is to help people, more precisely individuals who often struggle or are rarely given the opportunity to access the countryside due to a variety of issues, and who therefore are unable to enjoy the experiences many of us take for granted, especially here in God’s own county.
The charity that I am running for is The Fieldfare Trust, a charity set up in 1985 to address the issue of disability access rights in the countryside, and the start of The Fieldfare challenge, a team-building event for young people with and without disabilities from all over the UK, with the Final taking place in a remote countryside area, challenging the perceptions of not only the young people, but very often that of the teachers and youth leaders.
How do I know about the positive effects of the Fieldfare challenge? It is because I have been involved with Fieldfare for the last 15 years as a volunteer and most recently as a trustee, and this charity changed me and my way of thinking. It is also why I have worked at the community farm for so long.
For those who are interested, here is a link to what we try and do at the challenge final, something that is completely led by volunteers.
Finally, if any of you wonderful friends of PLCF would like to help me raise some of the funds needed, please visit my just donate page.
– Ed Milne