The thought behind our unique fundraising challenge... It was important that our efforts would challenge our team physically, help you get to know our new business, Donate as you Renovate Ltd. and most importantly, raise much needed funds for our featured charity Family Fund. It was also important to us, that we tied in with our Scottish heritage as we are a new Scottish start up business. 

With inspiration from the famous Proclaimers song we decided to walk, run and cycle 500 kms for Family Fund and take in some of the highlights Scotland has to offer along the way!

Our challenge milestones and how we got on..

Our virtual GNR - The Great North Run is the most famous half marathon in the UK and ranks highly on the world stage. I have always admired the atmosphere and the spirit shown at the event as people from all walks of life come together for their own specific cause, driving them towards the finishing line.

The current pandemic has affected so many things in our lives this year but luckily the Great North Run was reimagined and the virtual Great North Run was born.

As a team we felt this was the perfect time to take the Great North Run a little further North to Scotland and commence our 500km challenge for Family Fund!

On virtual GNR race day - viRACE App downloaded, a bit of training complete, route planned along the local cycle path (goes all the way to Glasgow so should be covered), Family Fund shirt on, Harribo securely in pocket for when the soreness kicks in and just about ready to go.

A short drive to the predetermined starting point... Sitting in my car thinking to myself why I hadn't run anywhere near 10 miles before attempting a half marathon, why I hadn't timed the runs I did in my make-shift training campaign... then to more pressing matters, the app is not connecting for the warm up phase of the race as the connection is too weak!!

Let's just say, I was more than warmed up before the start of the race, running approximately a mile and a half before realising I was in a large black spot.
Back to the car and a short drive later, the reception picked up and the app connected. Total relief.

It was 9.45am and the race had already started at 9.30. At times like this you remember why you are doing these things. I had a quick look at the Family Fund jersey and jumped out the car and started running.

I remembered the night before it had been raining which is usually quite comforting, hearing it tap rhythmically off the window when you are warm and comfy in bed. A sound we are very used to in Scotland. This however offered little to no comfort as I joined the cycle path and saw the excessive flooding that lay on the route ahead. I wish I had brought a boat.

As the miles rolled past, the inspirational messages from Ant and Dec, Alan Shearer and a host of famous voices helped at each marker, especially as the squelching wet trainers and inevitable blisters were offering nothing to comfort me during the journey and occupying much of my thoughts.

On my travels I noticed several people who were taking part in the virtual GNR for their respective causes and had the foresight to print out their competitor number. I was able to give them prior warning about the flooding that lay ahead.

There were many mutual nods and smiles through gritted masks of exertion.

The kilt walk was also taking place on the same day so the atmosphere was fantastic with smiling fundraisers walking and spectators alike which really helped as the legs tightened and the feet rubbed. At no point did I feel like I was running alone and the positive energy and maybe the Harribo helped in the later stages of the race. 

Completing the virtual GNR marked the first 22km of our 500km target for Family Fund and what a way to do it. 

Cycle around Arran - Arran or 'little Scotland' is a beautiful island to the west of Scotland. While there on holiday I thought this was the perfect opportunity to add to our fundraising campaign total as the island is approximately 85km to travel round and would take us past the 100km barrier for Family Fund. I checked with the hotel and managed to track down the location of a bike rental shop. After a brief consultation, I booked the bike, which I would receive that night. I went away feeling positive about the encounter. The rest of the day was fantastic, taking in all the island had to offer. On my return to the shop however it became apparent that the bike and shop attendant were nowhere to be found.

Luckily the owner of the local little rock cafe came to the rescue and delivered the rental bike off to Lamlash where we were staying, which meant I could perform the route and have the bike back on time. He also delivered a complimentary beer to celebrate when I finished the route. Not all heroes wear capes.

I had been told the route was loved by cyclists. On route there were many professional looking cyclists with racing bikes, decked out in spandex. I however was a little less flamboyant, trundling along on my rented bike with numerous bags hung over the bike wheel, willing myself on to the sign for Brodick, which meant I had completed one full revolution of the island.

The views were stunning in places and I cannot recommend cycling this route enough. At times the scenery felt like something from a film set as the fog descended on the water off the coastline. It was a great experience taking Family Fund to Arran. 

This phase of our fundraising campaign took us over 100km of our 500km for Family Fund.

Walk up Arthur's seat - Our friends have also taken on Arthur's seat for Family Fund as part of our fundraising campaign.

Stephanie said, "It was great having a socially distanced walk with friends for such a great cause! The views were amazing from the top of Edinburgh too!"

"Everyone has been affected by the current pandemic in our communities and Family Fund really do make a difference to so many! We just hope campaigns like this raise awareness about the good work they do in the shape of grants for sick and disabled children, and hopefully raise some funds to help!."

Climbing Ben Nevis - Ben Nevis simply had to be on the list.

The thought of taking Family Fund to the highest point in the UK as part of our campaign was an opportunity too good to miss!

My preconceived idea was that I would be able to enjoy the view, take plenty of pictures for Family Fund, have some lunch at the top and maybe take around 7 hours to complete the round trip which is about average. I however asked one of my fittest friends Ross to be my accomplice on the trip and found us taking over all the other walkers for long consistent periods with a great view of the next boulder I had to traverse. It was certainly challenging at times.

In all seriousness he was a great pacesetter, I only wish I had eaten before we started scaling the Ben. As we neared the top, I was definitely feeling a little light-headed but a protein bar and look at the time spurred me on to follow the footsteps.

We made it to the top in 2 hours 20minutes and completed the 16km round trip in 4 hours and 45 minutes which is quite respectable. We even managed to have a sandwich at the top and take a few pics on the way down for Family Fund!

Cycle the length of Loch Lomond - "You take the high road and I'll take the low road..." Loch Lomond is one of the most scenic places in Scotland and is understandably world famous!

We were therefore delighted to include a cycle along the banks in our fundraising campaign for Family Fund!

The views were amazing at times and the weather was great when we set off on our bikes. Being Scotland, this however did not last long, and the weather frequently changed over the course of the journey. We even had a hailstorm at one stage!

We reached the top of the loch and on the return journey I was unfortunate enough to crash the bike and go over the handlebars. Luckily, the bike was in one-piece, but the remainder of the journey wasn't exactly pleasurable, cycling one handed for the remainder of the route along the banks.

Currently we have surpassed the 300km mark of our Walk, run and cycle 500km for Family Fund! We hope you have enjoyed reading about some of our fundraising highlights.

What our company does and how it helps charities...

Donate as you Renovate is a fundraising platform in the home improvement sector. Our purpose is to help our customers receive no obligation home improvement quotes with the best companies and shop online with trusted brands while helping a charity close to their hearts for free. Simply put, when you need to make home improvements visit donateasyourenovate.com

*For each home improvement quotes you receive with our trusted companies a FREE donation will be given to a charity of your choice.

*If you shop online with us via our logo links, Family Fund will benefit with a FREE donation

Watch this space to find out how the amazing guys at Donate to Renovate continue their 500K story...

Read more of our fundraising stories here.