Like most people in lockdown I got into running and completed Couch to 5k at the end of last year and (having seriously caught the running bug) have been looking for another goal to work towards. Luckily I stumbled across The Conqueror Virtual Fitness Challenges and snapped up their Length of the UK challenge; running from Lands End to John O’Groats, a distance of 1743 km. A couple of days into the challenge and with my first ever 10k under my belt it was suggested that I raise some money for charity along the way, so here we are!

Back in 2010 as part of a prep-school charity bike ride I raised some money for Friends of the Lake District and am delighted to be raising for them again! The Lake District is far and away the most beautiful place on earth (in my humble opinion) and I've walked across it's stunning fells and through its gorgeous villages more times than I can count and the work that Friends do to help and preserve the scenic beauty, rich landscape and historic heritage of the national park is amazing. The Friends help to secure a landscape that is; beautiful, diverse, locally distinctive, tranquil and environmentally healthy; conserved and enhanced; accessible and enjoyed by all.

All funds donated here will go directly to Friends of the Lake District but I am also fundraising for the wonderful charity Mermaids.

LGBT+ rights have made bounds in recent years but there are still obstacles to overcome, especially for young transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse people in the UK. Studies conducted over lockdown have shown that 69% of respondents suffered depressive symptoms, rising to about 90% of those who had experienced homophobia or transphobia with many having to 'go back in the closet' in homophobic and transphobic households. Mermaids helps to reduce isolation and loneliness for transgender, nonbinary and gender-diverse children, young people and their families, as well as providing families and young people with the tools they need to negotiate education and health services. If you would like your donation to be split between both charities please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/harry-clough-runs

You can follow along with my progress on my Strava profile where I'll be posting my runs (runs for this fundraiser will be tagged #LEtJOG, which is surprisingly accurate to what I'll be doing!) and you can join my community on the Conqueror Challenges app 'Mermaids and Friends of the Lake District' and you can follow me on my Twitter and Instagram accounts where I'll be posting updates.

I know times are hard for everybody right now but would be so grateful for any amount you are able to donate. If you want to chat to me more about this challenge, my progress or the charities don't hesitate to do so. Any support would be amazing! Thanks for reading and wish me luck!

Harry Clough