Emma Debben explains why she is running the New Forest Marathon in aid of ARC and what running has taught her along the way.

Just over a year ago I decided I was going to run a marathon, I picked a local marathon (The New Forest Marathon)  with an environmental ethos, I didn’t want to choose an event that would be more damaging to the environment, I wanted to protect it and raise money in support of it.

I am sure many of you understand the need to help, and the frustration when it feels like there is nothing you can do, due to time constraints, finances, or caring responsibilities. I have been an ARC Friend for some time now but needed to do something physical to help.

Running is something I started as a way of taking 30 minutes for myself, so a marathon is a big challenge for me. I have been following a training plan, things have been bumpy with COVID, I was not sure if the official event would even happen. Luckily, it has all come together with just a few small adjustments and the event will go ahead in a couple of weeks.

Running for reptiles has given me a purpose and a goal, but it has also opened up a completely new reality for me. I have learnt during training that there is always a way, but sometimes we need to get creative. It started with realising I could divide my long runs into partly outside, and partly inside on an ancient second hand treadmill (to fit around the kids).

What once seemed inaccessible without a car is now running distance. I ran 17 miles to meet friends and enjoy a take away with them! I have also learnt patience; it takes time for our actions to have an effect, whether that is improvements from training, waiting for the pond to attract wildlife or other little ripples from our actions. We can all help in our own way, baking cakes, adding a pond in the garden, managing heathland, or through education and research, just by using our own unique super powers.

Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (ARC) does an amazing job of supporting and managing sites, ensuring the future of our native reptiles and amphibians through a wide variety of different projects and methods. ARC has been behind me every step of the way and I cannot think of a better organisation to raise funds for, they are a truly collaborative organisation, supporting even the smallest efforts towards protecting our reptile populations.

I will be running the New Forest Marathon on Saturday 19th September 2020. Although this is now a closed event I will be able to keep everyone updated with my progress on the day using live track and posting updates to Facebook on my dedicated page facebook.com/Emmas#runningforreptiles or on instagram (@emma_runningforreptiles) and using the hashtag #RunningforReptiles (Please feel free to send me messages of encouragement and support I may need these on the day!).

If you are able to show your support by donating towards my fundraiser or spreading the word I would be very grateful. Together we can make a difference.