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Fundraiser Claire gets set to take on Great North Run

09 June 2019
Fundraiser Claire gets set to take on Great North Run

Cat champion Claire Nally is looking forward to combining her two passions in life – felines and fitness – when she takes on the Great North Run for Cats Protection this September. 

We caught up with Claire to find out more about her reasons for running the half marathon and how she is balancing training with fundraising for the charity.

Why did you decide to sign up for the Great North Run?
I ran the Great North Run last year for the first time, but alas I didn’t get the chance to run for Cats Protection. The charity is really important to me, as I have a rescue cat from the Gateshead and Newcastle branch. I want to put myself through the horror again, but this time raising money for cats! 

How did you find the experience last year?
The atmosphere is amazing, and the support from all the charities as you are going along the route is just great. I think about 17km I really started to feel exhausted, but this time, I think the thought of all the kitties needing help will power me through. 

Why have you chosen to support Cats Protection? 
My rescue cat from Cats Protection, Drusilla (formerly Penny), is such a huge part of my life, I cannot even begin to explain her importance to me. I wanted to give something back to those other cats needing help. Drusilla was living under a bush and kids were poking her with sticks. That thought still breaks my heart but I am so grateful she came to Cats Protection and eventually ended up with me. She has been my little companion through some tough times. She spends the night at the foot of my bed and she actually waits for me to go to bed! All my friends and family just adore her. She’s like a black and white version of Bagpuss. So helping other cats like her is fundamental for me.  

How is your training going and how do you motivate yourself? 
I'm running the Great North 10k as practice in a few weeks, and I ran the Great Manchester 10k earlier this year, with one of my best times! I have a dodgy knee at the minute, so I’m doing shorter runs to keep my fitness up, as well as my usual gym routine. But I also have an app to help me with ongoing training for the big day, which worked quite well last time. 

Will you be you wearing fancy dress or aiming for a certain time (or both!)? 
I wouldn't call it fancy dress, but I will be wearing paw print sportswear! I’d like to improve on my time from last year - even though I ran all the way, I’m hardly the fastest, especially at the end. As near to two hours as possible for me on the day! 

Do you have any interesting or unusual fundraising ideas? 
Not really - I'm very lucky to have generous family and friends, and I sometimes use bribery too (‘LOOK AT THE KITTY! GIVE THE KITTY SOME MONEY!’) My fundraising target is currently £500, but I’d be more than happy to exceed that if I can!

What's been the biggest challenge so far - fundraising or training? 
People always seem to be quite willing to give a few pounds to help cats. So probably the training! 

What are you most and least looking forward to about the run? 
That moment just before I set off is nerve-wracking, so I’m not looking forward to that! The best thing is that breeze as you head down to the sea at the very end. And of course, stuffing my face on the other side of the finish line. 

What would you say to someone considering taking on a challenge for Cats Protection? 
Do it! There are so many ways to help: swimming, running, climbing up Everest! Small challenges, or big ones! It’s great for your own health, and you help our furry friends at the same time. 

Claire will be joined at the start line on Sunday 8th September by Cats Protection runners from across the country. If you’ve been inspired to take on a challenge for the charity, you can find out about events taking place near you.

If you’d like to support Claire, please visit her online sponsorship page here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/claire-nally1