Movers & Shakers
Meet our 2018 team member: Martin O’Neill
Rightmove’s marketing mastermind, Martin O’Neill spent 2018 pounding the pavements for a better tomorrow. Here’s what he had to say about his journey.
What’s your name and what are you doing?
I’m Martin O’Neill and I ran a whole 26.2 miles (a full marathon) in 5 hours 46 mins in support of the Winter Night Shelter in Milton Keynes, at the 2018 MK Marathon on May 7th.
I raised a total of £590 towards the charity.
Why did you pick the Winter Night Shelter?
Although I now live and work primarily in London, Milton Keynes is where I grew up – it’s my hometown and I’m still often there as part of my job. Sadly, you can’t help but notice how much homelessness has grown in Milton Keynes in recent years. It’s become increasingly common to see people sleeping rough, especially around the town centre, and that’s a tough thing to see someone going through.
It leaves you feeling that you desperately want to help – to make a real difference. I do my bit in my own way, but I think everyone finds it tough to work out how they can do something that will really change things in the long term.
Running the marathon as part of the On The Move team was my change to make a bigger impact than I’m able to do on my own.
What did this cause mean to you?
Everyone deserves a safe and warm place to sleep and the Winter Night Shelter’s new project – “Unity Park Station,” will help so many people.
For those that are currently having to sleep rough, there’ll be a new opportunity to find a place for the night, surround themselves with friendly, positive people, and get some advice on finding a permanent home.
I really believe in what they’re doing – Milton Keynes needs much more support for people affected by homelessness.
Had you ever undertaken a run of a similar distance to that before?
I ran the Ealing Half Marathon previously. It’s something that I found very challenging at the time. Then I found that I’d signed up to the On The Move team to run twice that distance at the MK Marathon!
I don’t consider myself to be a natural runner, so I struggled when I first started training. But I trained hard and felt like I really hit by stride after the first month or so. I added more and more distance onto each run I did, and that was a really great feeling.
Before the big day itself the thought of running over 40k was very daunting, but I imagine most people felt that way in the lead up to the race!
Can you tell us any more about your training experience?
About halfway through my training, you would have found me running round Hyde Park one Saturday – I was on a 15k run and was really proud of my effort.
It started off just fine, but when I got home I soon realised quite how dehydrated I’d made myself. Shortly after I got back, I was being sick and then fell asleep. I was so exhausted – I think I slept for over 24hours. I guess the lesson there is simple: stay hydrated when you train! You can push it too far!
I think my favourite training effort was something I achieved quite early on; I managed to run 8km home after work, and I did it at quite a decent pace too. It’s exhilarating when you achieve your goals.
Did you use any tech to help you out with your training?
I used the Strava app – most of the On The Move runners were on there.
It’s very good for tracking your pace but I found the leader board a little stressful. I’m so competitive! Seeing my friends clock up over 30km a week made me jealous! (But well done all!)
It was great to see so many people training so hard, and also see how much they were able to raise in their fundraising campaigns through JustGiving too. It was good to see the hard work translate into a really positive effect for people.
What advice can you give to other runners that are training right now?
I’m not a good person to give advice. I ran at an erratic frequency, I didn’t drink enough water, or feed myself properly before a long run, and I rarely stretched before or after. Some good advice would be to do the opposite to what I normally did!
But the truth of it is, we’re not professional runners but we are doing something that requires a lot from our bodies, and you need to take care of your body if you want it to perform for you. Don’t underestimate how much strain a 26.2 mile race will place on yourself. Good preparation will pay off, and in the end that’s what I did – and it worked out well for me come race day!
Thanks Martin, you did something really special. Is there anyone you’d like to thank, or anything else you’d like to say?
I just think Rightmove as a company needs a quick shout out. We’re all quite humble and it’s not in our nature to pat ourselves on the back, but I’m proud of the way we’ve all rallied together in support of people that really need our help.
Make the difference for the Winter Night Shelter MK today
Martin O’Neill was raising money for the Winter Night Shelter MK. And this year so are another team of runners.
If you’ve been inspired by Martin’s story then help others reach their fundraising goal – and support an amazing charity in the process. Simply click on the link below and pick a runner from the 2019 team to show your support.
All donations go directly to the Winter Night Shelter MK, and help the local people of Milton Keynes who are in desperate need of support, and who’s lives have been affected by homelessness.
Please give generously – together we can make a difference.