MINI MARATHON SUCCESS – Helena’s Story

MINI MARATHON SUCCESS – Helena’s Story

Jul 09

On 1st June, a team of 6 ladies took part in the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon in aid of Jobcare. June over and their sponsorship pages for this event now closed, we’re delighted to announce that these ladies raised a total of €2,303!! We also had 28 ladies from Microsoft doing the mini-marathon as part of their charity fundraising project this year, and half of that money will also go to Jobcare! Thank you Team Jobcare and to all of you who sponsored them and supported them along the way! We decided to catch up with some of our ladies and to find out more about their mini marathon experience, why they decided to sponsor Jobcare and how their money will be used to make a difference.

Runner: Helena Goss

Favourites: +My family and friends +Music +Walks on the beach +Good food +Photography +Jobcare ☺

What got you over the finish line? So many people had sponsored me for my birthday- I couldn’t let them down. Plus there was a Herald reporter at the finish line to report on how I got on for the next day’s paper- that motivates a person!

Helena, Jobcare’s Resourcing and Communications Manager, raised €1,123 in sponsorship by running the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon. Helena’s sponsorship money will go towards Jobcare’s computer training courses and IT infrastructure so that Jobcare can properly equip and train jobseekers in this digital age. We talked to Helena about her experience.

So why the mini marathon?

Because in January, in the not-really-happening, day-dream space in my head it was a great idea! (Laughs) Seriously, back in January, I saw the mini-marathon advertised online and realised it was on the day of my 40th birthday. I had walked it for Jobcare a couple of years ago, and in one of those mad moments not far into the New Year, I thought it might be a great idea to challenge myself to run the mini-marathon for Jobcare and get friends and family to sponsor me for my birthday. One day over lunch with Josie in work I rather stupidly thought about the idea out loud, and before I knew it, a plan was born! Then I, again rather hastily, emailed The Herald newspaper as part of a mini-marathon competition and couldn’t believe it when they phoned to say I had been chosen as their Team VHI-Herald jogger! So then I had absolutely no choice but to follow through!

You say “challenge yourself to run”. Was running a new thing?

You could say that! Exercise of any description was a new thing! Really, I’m not much of an exercise person at all. I’m always up and about busy, but I don’t do any set exercise as such. I’ve always been able to walk enough of a distance without too much bother, but I literally couldn’t run for the bus when I started in February. It was bad! So yes, running was very new to me and a serious challenge.

It sounds like there must have been a training plan then?

Definitely. I started learning how to run with one of the 5km running apps on my phone. It literally told me what to do and when, plus I could listen to music at the same time. It begins by having you run for one minute at a time with walks in between and it was embarrassing! I could barely manage one minute!! Desperate! But I stuck at it and slowly I could do a bit more and a bit more. I was also following the VHI women’s mini-marathon app each week and getting advice from their fitness expert, Louise Heraghty. So I was “running” about three times a week and a bit of swimming. Josie and I signed up for personal training with Maria Hayes Fitness to build up our strength and help stop injuries, and Maria was brilliant. We were fairly reluctant clients, but she was so encouraging and we had a laugh, despite all our moaning. Training was so alien to Josie and I, when we’re in our eighties we’ll still be saying, “You know once we were the kind of ladies who went to a personal trainer in our lunch hour!” (Laughs) Ah, it was a whole new world for me. I had a couple of injuries and various aches and pains, and I was exhausted at times, but it got me there in the end. I most definitely couldn’t have run it otherwise.

So how did the mini marathon go?

Wow, it was so many things. It was far, and wet! On the day I was fairly sick and chesty with a cold, so physically I definitely found it tougher than my practise 10km runs. But it’s amazing to be in the middle of this sea of women, thousands of women there to support great causes, many with their own personal story. And the bands and people lining the route and cheering everyone on are just angels. I’ve never been so grateful for complete strangers who smiled or clapped or cheered. It really does make a difference. I had the faces of different people from Jobcare firmly fixed in my mind to keep me motivated. And I just held on to the promise that it was nearly over! After the months of training and all the work, this was it. I was actually doing it! It felt like I practically collapsed over the finish line, but it was amazing to have run 10km! Me?!! Paul, Jobcare’s Chief Exec, was there (wet!) to support us all and it was so exciting to see the other Team Jobcare girls- we were radiating pride in our achievement! And my husband and kids were there with a hot water bottle and a flask of coffee!

Your sponsorship money is going towards Jobcare’s computer courses and IT. Why is that important to you?

Well there’s just no denying that IT is everywhere- it’s such an intrinsic part of life today. I wouldn’t describe myself as an IT person at all, yet I use it all the time. I use a computer every day in work, and often at home too. Plus I’m online on my phone. Email has in large part replaced letters; we keep in touch with friends through social media; our cameras are digital. So even for those of us who aren’t IT savvy, daily life and work now require a certain level of computer skill. I know a significant part of an unemployed person’s jobsearch happens online- working on their CV on the computer, searching for vacancies online, emailing in job applications. And our work programme staff are developing their computer skills as they gain work experience with us. So it’s really important that Jobcare is able to help our clients to be equipped for this digital age. That means keeping Jobcare’s IT infrastructure up-to-date so we can continue to provide a relevant service-offering, equipping unemployed people with the computer skills to jobsearch effectively as well as preparing them for work.

Stand-out memory?

A hot bath, a long nap and a birthday tea when it was all over!


Our huge thanks to Helena for taking part in the VHI Women’s mini-marathon for Jobcare. To find out more about Jobcare’s computer courses, see www.jobcare.ie/learning/computer-skills. To help Jobcare equip jobseekers with essential IT skills, check out www.jobcare.ie/get-involved-2015/donate and help us get more people back to work. Thank you!

Working Matters!