Editor’s comment: Why did I say I’d run this thing again?

Runners set off at last year's Hackney Half. Picture: VIRGIN SPORT

Runners set off at last year's Hackney Half. Picture: VIRGIN SPORT - Credit: Archant

I’ve somehow managed to convince myself my catastrophic fear of running is a good thing.

After all, some very generous folk have sponsored me to the tune of nearly £300 to run the 13.1-mile course on Sunday, so the least I can do is make it exciting for them by being hopelessly underprepared.

My default state after about 100 metres is something akin to a slow-motion panic attack, a heady blend of claustrophobia at being out of breath and fear of my own self-judgement should I give up.

Thank goodness for the Gazette team trainer Matt Smith, who has not only agreed to run the course alongside us (and raise money for the Winter Night Shelter while he’s at it) but has also been helping me recover from a minor but painful knee injury. I’ve set foot inside a gym five or six times in my entire life, and all of them have been this year and thanks to him.

A little jog through Hackney is, of course, absolutely nothing compared with the daily struggle faced by the men and women who rely on the Hackney Winter Night Shelter. The shelter’s volunteers and staff do incredible work providing beds, food, shelter, company and advice to some of Hackney’s most vulnerable people. But because funding is tight, it’s closed now, and it probably won’t be open until November, meaning as I write this some of the people it helps are back on the streets. Everyone deserves access to a safe, stable, warm home; it is a scandal that thousands of people in Hackney don’t have that.

Archant, which publishes the Gazette, will match all the money we raise in donations. With Gift Aid on top, you’re giving the shelter more than double what actually comes out of your pocket. It’s a pretty good deal, and it’ll help people who are used to anything but.

So please go to mydonate.bt.com/teams/hackneygazette2018 if you’d like to help. And perhaps I’ll see some of you at the finish line.