Charities like Create need our support NOW more than ever. This is what I did to help

Jonny Breeze talks about the Cre8in8 challenge
Jonny Breeze talks about the Cre8in8 challenge

Jonny Breeze is a member of our Development Council. Here, he shares his amazing story of a tough running challenge – the #Cre8in8. In just six weeks, he designed it, recruited runners for it, ran it, and raised funds through it.

What a strange year this has been. I work in recruitment, so you can imagine how difficult the past six months have been for me and my clients.

The pandemic has affected every sector, and charities are no exception. Many have suffered a huge blow to their incomes.

In my role on Create’s Development Council, which supports the CEO and fundraising team to raise vital funds, I’ve been aware of how social distancing and the cancellation of events has taken a financial toll on a charity that I admire and love. This loss of income means that Create’s crucial work empowering the lives of disadvantaged and vulnerable people through the creative arts is under threat.

I had two options: sit back and let it happen, or get moving. I chose the latter.

The #Cre8in8

I love running, and along with seven friends I set up a movement a few years ago called The W8ful Eight.

Our premise is simple. We believe that everyone should be able to enjoy whatever food and drink they like while staying in shape – and we motivate our community to do just that by taking on a variety of fitness challenges. The aim isn’t to look like a Greek god, but to live life to the full. Like life, the number 8 is all about balance. Two circles carefully poised on top of one another. Power vs Responsibility. Work vs Life. Diet vs Exercise. Health vs Enjoyment.

So, with very short notice, we decided to set up a running challenge to support Create in these difficult times. The result was #Cre8in8.

Runners were asked to run either 8k or 8 half-marathons on 8 consecutive days, from 1-8 August, and get their friends, family and colleagues to sponsor them. Quite the challenge, even for those of us who run regularly.

A global challenge

Some of the Cre8in8 runners halfway through the challenge

We were so pleased with the response. In a really short space of time we managed to sign up 34 runners from 14 different countries, including the US, South Africa, Canada, India, South Korea, Romania, Brazil … and even Trinidad and Tobago. This was a truly global event!

The runners worked hard for every pound they raised, sticking with the challenge through all their aches and pains. Only one runner, from Portugal, got injured early on, but her friends rallied round, and they took it in turns to run each day so she could make it to the end – all the while raising money for Create.

Another runner from the UK was using this as a continuation of the weight loss they had achieved during the lockdown period; others, including two women from Seattle who ran eight half-marathons together over the eight days, were looking for a motivating challenge to take on during the pandemic. There were so many human success stories for such a great and inspirational charity.

As I write this, we have raised over £13,000 including Gift Aid, which is incredible in such a short space of time. All of this money will go to supporting Create’s projects at a time when Create’s participant groups need them the most.

There is still time to support the challenge – click here to donate.

After this success, our plan is to make the #Cre8in8 an annual event, and grow it so the challenge is even bigger and better next year. More runners, more donations, more lives empowered through the creative arts.

Please consider joining us.

Interested in taking part next year? Then sign-up below to be kept informed about the 2021 #cre8in8 challenge.

Can’t wait that long to get involved and support Create? Get in touch to hear from the team about how you can help out now.