Picture this: It’s June, the hottest weekend of the year so far, and people up and down the UK are doing everything they can to relax and stay cool. Running isn’t the first thing on the public’s mind on a day like this, but as always SolarAid’s supporters never fail to surprise us with their incredible (and sometimes crazy) ideas. Darren Strachan is one of these. On this sweltering June day, he decided to take on the Centurion South Downs Way 100 mile race.
Darren is no stranger to the world of ultramarathons – he even considers them a hobby! But, this one is different. This time, he is raising money to bring clean, safe solar power to homes, schools and clinics across sub-Saharan Africa.
Explaining why he chose SolarAid, Darren said “I was looking for a charity to run for and having an interest in solar I stumbled across SolarAid and discovered the amazing work that you’re doing in Africa.
The thing that really struck a chord with me was that children can’t read or study when the sun goes down, or they have to resort to using dirty fuel lamps. I just thought if I could raise a little bit of money to help a few kids to potentially study and read at night, then that might be a good thing.”
And Darren’s totally right, solar light changes lives at the flick of a switch. It means families no longer need to rely on dangerous and toxic ways of lighting their home. Instead, they can be secure in the knowledge that a solar light is safe and clean.
Running an ultramarathon is no easy feat. As Darren says, “they take a lot out of you. So you can’t really do them too often. But, for me typically it’s two or three times a year.” but when the going gets tough Darren says running for SolarAid put things into perspective. It’s the wider perspective that “kind of helps you try to figure out ways to get through the run”.
Having entered and taken part in a number of events over the years he has some great advice for others looking to challenge themselves, all in the name of SolarAid.
“My main bit of advice would be that people can do, most of the time, so much more than they might think they think they’re capable of. My main advice would be to believe in yourself and you can actually do more than you might think you’re constrained by. So, you know, if you think you can do a 5K, which is great, you can probably do a hell of a lot more than that, if you want to. And the other main thing is to try to enjoy it, because it’s a privilege being able to do that kind of stuff.”
Darren is definitely following his own advice. His next ultramarathon is in September, where he will take on the Spartatholon in Greece!
Inspired? Why not take a leaf out of Darren’s book and challenge yourself (it doesn’t need to be an ultramarathon!). Get in touch and surprise us with what you can come up with. If you need a bit of help, why not check out our events page, where you can find something near you. We’re here to support you every step of the w