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May 24, 2024 at 11:05 am

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Q & A with Jason Bird – a man who never goes for a run without his washing machine!

  1. How did you first come up with the idea of running with a washing machine strapped to your back?

I wanted to do something which wasn’t easily achievable from your everyday runner and I remember seeing Pete Digby back in 2011 complete the London marathon with a washing machine. I believe he was the first person to do this and since then only 7 others have gone on to mirror his achievement, with either washing machines, tumble dryers or fridges.

  1. Did you in your wildest dreams realize how difficult a challenge you had set yourself.

I didn’t start running until I was 50 and was fortunate to gain entry into the London marathon via the ballot. It took me a year to learn how to run to a half decent standard and a further year to build up strength and endurance to run with the appliance the following year. Whilst it has taken a lot of time in both training and weekends away from my family during the year, I am motivated in raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Potentially fund raising enabled my son to live a normal life, I feel obliged to give something back to other families visiting GOSH.

  1. How do you go about training for a challenge like this?

Initially I started with a simple rucksack and every other week added a 1kg bag of sugar wrapped in clingfilm. This continued until I got up to 10kg when I invested in a 10kg weighted vest and later a 20kg vest. It wasn’t until two months before the London marathon I started to run with the 32kg appliance in a 10k race and the following month a half marathon.

A majority of my training now is still without the appliance if favor of weighted vests as it will take its toll on your back, knees and ankles which will lead to injuries further down the road.

A word of advice……listen to your body.

  1. Can you tell us a little bit more about the challenge you are undertaking?

At first I was only going to run the London marathon back in 2022 and call it a day, however I got a taste for running carrying weight which is referred to as ‘rucking’.

18 months later having completed 4 marathons and 15 half marathons, with a further 8 half marathons planned for 2024 I’m still going.

Trying to get in to the Big Half in London if anyone can help?

I plan to later in the year see if I can make it up mount Snowdon and back, with the hope to complete the other two peaks if successful.

  1. You are running in support of Great Ormand Street Children’s Charity (GOSH) – why is this Charity so important to you?

My son was born with Haemangioma to his lower back and spine which was causing him constant pain 24/7. From 6 months old, Jacob was an outpatient at Great Ormond Street Hospital for 8 years, which would require us as a family to travel to London every four months.

Initially we were told there was a chance he may never walk due to the location of the Haemangioma, which totally devastated both my wife and myself. That said, Jacob now 15 is fit and heathy and can outrun his dad every time at our local parkrun.

We consider ourselves most fortunate that our story is one of positivity, when many are not so fortunate.

  1. How has your fundraising been going?

Started this endeavor back in October 2022 when I ran the London marathon since then I have completed a further 3 marathons and 15 half marathons. In the first year I raised £6,000 and I hope to match this this year were to date I have raised £2,000.

  1. You received great support from the crowds at Brighton – what were your memories of the day?

This was my first Brighton half marathon and the day was superb from start to finish.

Crowds cheering you on at the start from the cliffs above as well as fellow runners both novices and more experienced, which continues along the entire route.

Shout out for all the volunteers who make the day happen.

However, I will always remember mile 10 when you turn back on yourself around Hove Lagoon, the wind on the day was immense and hit me like a ton of bricks. Both the washing machine and 2 meter high flags took the brunt and almost stopped me in my tracks. This continued for the next two miles and it was along this stretch that spectators support pushed me through the immense pain I was experiencing across my shoulders from the head on wind.

As for the finish line…you genuinely couldn’t hear yourself over the cheers of support from spectators.

  1. How do you keep yourself motivated during each challenge event?

Every time I stand at the start line I feel nervous, with my main fear being sustaining an injury and having to pull out of the race. These thoughts are soon put to rest by talking to fellow runners at the back of the pack.

Once anyone starts running the spectators are more than enough motivation and trust me this is in abundance in Brighton.

  1. Do you have any advice for anyone else who might be contemplating taking on a fundraising challenge.

I am a total dinosaur when it comes to social media, don’t underestimate what this can do for your cause.

  1. Would you consider a new challenge in the future – and if so – what might it be?

The three peaks is on my radar, Snowdon will be later in the year and if successful will be followed by the other two peaks.

This will be my last year with the washing machine, however will be looking at another challenge next year which will still be weight related….not sure just what!

And finally, if you did fancy taking on a new challenge at the Half next year, we would of course love to welcome you back!

In the words of Arnold Schwarzenegeer ‘I’ll be back’

Jason would be grateful for your support with this challenge, his JustGiving link is below:

Thank you!