MINI MARATHON SUCCESS – Sharon’s Story

MINI MARATHON SUCCESS – Sharon’s Story

Jul 07

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: Sharon Ross

Favourites: +Dancing +People +Hiking +The Ocean +Running +Making a difference

What got you over the finish line? I knew my family were waiting at the finish line for me, cheering me on- my husband, our two children and my brother.

Sharon, Jobcare supporter, raised €145 in sponsorship by completing the VHI Women’s Mini Marathon. Sharon’s sponsorship money will go towards hospitality for Jobcare’s clients, helping us to provide a warm welcome, creating an environment where people can connect over a cup of tea or coffee, and building a safe place where they can be open to community. We talked to Sharon about her experience.

So why the mini marathon?

I’m passionate about health and I love people and helping people. I worked in Jobcare years ago so I’ve seen the difference that Jobcare makes to people’s lives. When we moved back to Ireland a few years ago having lived in Canada for eleven years, it was great to see Jobcare still making an impact and getting unemployed people back to work. So I was delighted to be able to do something to support them, and encouraging women to look after their health at the same time.

Do you usually run?

I do – well, very gently! I gave up alcohol completely a few years ago and I’d heard that, to break a habit, it’s easier to replace that habit with a new one. So I had started looking for healthy ways to relax and increase my endorphins. A couple of years ago I started running, well jogging really. We had moved back to Ireland and I’d go out jogging by the river near us, just a few kilometres. Then I got chatting to a school Mum friend at swimming one day. Turns out she had run three marathons! She invited me to go running with her. You can imagine how embarrassing our difference in fitness levels were (!), but I’ve gone running with her about twice a week since. I also started hiking at the weekends which I love, and I just recently did a section of the Camino – an amazing experience.

So how did you find training?

To begin with it was fairly daunting. I didn’t really have a training plan. I had just carried on running (slowly!) a couple of times a week and hiking once a week. I did a few Park Runs, so I had run the 5km, but I think 6km was the most I had run before the mini marathon itself. In March I hurt my back and couldn’t exercise for about a month, but eventually I got back on track. That’s life, you know? Things are up and down, bits aren’t great, but if you keep going, you’ll get there. The Camino really reinforced that too. Often the battle is a mental one even more than a physical one. We did 70km of the Camino in 3 days. You’re out walking for about eight hours a day and there’s nowhere to stop between each town. So when you’re tired and you want to give up, you’ve no choice but to go on. You have to reach the next town. That experience taught me a lot about the power of our mental attitude and how important it is to believe in yourself. I knew my family and friends believed in me – they had sponsored me! Some of those donations may have been for a small amount, but they were a really significant donation for that person, and that made it all the more special.

And how did the mini marathon go?

Oh, it was incredibly inspiring! I had never done the mini-marathon before. I had heard people describe the event, but it’s different to be a part of it. I had this incredible sense of “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this!” And you really do get carried along by this ocean of goodwill. 37,000 women all doing this together for so many great causes. It’s amazing! For me, the rain was helpful. It cooled me down. I ran with Josie which was great as we had a similar pace. We both had our headphones in so we were just chatting sporadically. But at the points when we felt like all we could do was laugh or cry, we kept each other laughing. So it was fun! And crossing the finish line was just utter exhilaration! I was thrilled- it was like passing my driving test! Honestly, if I can do this, anybody can!

Your sponsorship money is going towards hospitality. Why is that important to you?

Like I said, I worked in Jobcare so I’ve seen the difference they make to people. And now that I’ve been at home raising our kids full-time for ten years, I can really relate to the unemployed person’s experience. I’ve been involved in voluntary work during that time, but still, I can relate to how unemployment affects a person’s confidence and sense of purpose. When you’re not working your day doesn’t have the same structure and it can be easy to become isolated and for depression to creep in. Jobcare welcomes people in at this difficult time in their lives, gives them a cuppa and connects them with other people. It’s so encouraging to see people meeting other jobseekers as well as people who can help, chatting, opening up and really benefitting from that sense of community. Their confidence grows; they hold their heads higher; they’ll initiate conversations; they get involved in volunteering. Those things aren’t as physically tangible as a CV or an interview, but they’re just as important in making somebody a desirable candidate for an employer. And often that all starts with a simple cuppa and a conversation.

Stand-out memory?

The search for port-a-loos!! 37,000 women, many of us Mums – toilets were in great demand!


Our huge thanks to Sharon for taking part in the VHI Women’s mini-marathon for Jobcare. To become a Friend of Jobcare and receive our quarterly newsletter, see www.jobcare.ie/about/friends-of-jobcare. To help Jobcare provide valuable hospitality for jobseekers, check out www.jobcare.ie/get-involved-2015/donate and help us get more people back to work. Thank you!

Working Matters!