2 days until the MK half-marathon!

This week I spent a couple of days up in Edinburgh at Challenges Worldwide Team Leader (TL) training and met my TL counterpart, Eva, who I’ll be spending 6 months with from June.


During the training we learned more about the amazing work Challenges Worldwide do, what we’ll be involved in and how the commercial arm of the charity will continue to support SMEs after we’ve left. Every time I hear one of their staff talk about the work they do, and see how passionate they are, I’m reminded how amazing it is I’ve been given the opportunity to take part.

The first milestone to showing my commitment to the programme is to fundraise for the charity. Thank you to everyone that has donated so far! I am only £45 off my target of £500 and have been training for the MK half-marathon to drum up support. With just 2 days to go until the race, I’d love to hit my target and I can honestly say it’s a worthwhile and sustainable cause if you’d like to donate!

Donate here if you haven’t already: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/soffiabowring

Have a lovely long weekend all!



Soffia – 6961

One week to go until the MK half marathon and I bossed 11 miles last weekend! The more people I speak to, the more I feel I’ve taken training way too seriously, but I am petrified of getting injured so wanted to build up very slowly…I can’t compete with the amazing efforts of those that competed the London Marathon but I assure you the half training is gruelling too!

I managed 9 minute miles despite achy legs from too much trampolining at Bounce on Friday, so hopefully I’ll be able to keep it up for all 13 next week.

Thank you to everyone that has donated so far and gotten me to +75% of my fundraising target!

If you haven’t donated already, I am raising money for Challenges Worldwide who support start-up businesses in Africa. There is a real problem with businesses being investment ready, and investors finding quality candidates in Africa. This is hindering economic growth across the continent and Challenges Worldwide hope to help +750 businesses by 2018. They will do this in various ways such as by providing a financial platform to better manage accounts, and by placing volunteers that can help with general business practice such as marketing and planning.

Read more on the Challenges Worldwide website and please donate generously to support their work through my JustGiving page here.

Charity bake sale = success!

This week I focused on upping my fundraising game and went hard on the baking. After starting Sunday, by Wednesday I had managed to create homemade chocolate tarts with an Oreo biscuit based and caramel centre, Russian traybake; complete with strawberries, pecans, white chocolate and pineapple, and toffee marshmallow Rice Krispy treats; garnished with caramel sauce and a celebration chocolate. I then cheated and bought some cupcakes…

Special thanks to Paul Howden for donating The Bishop’s famous fudge and an Easter simnel cake – everything went down a treat despite all the free food in the office!

£86 cash + £62 in online donations = a total of £148!! I was hoping for over £75 so to raise almost double that is amazing. The charity bake sale was definitely a success!

Thank you again to everyone who donated, and once the cash is in, I’ll be over half way to my target.

Find out more about why I’m fundraising and keep track of progress here:



Training is under way

Giving myself a 6 week window to train for a half marathon was probably not the brightest idea!

Last weekend I walked the Yorkshire 3 Peaks thinking a long walk would be a good substitute for a run. +25 miles and +13 hours later I had crippled myself so only managed a short run on Thursday during the week.

However, I need to finish the 13 miles on the 1st of May so am still rapidly upping my distance to improve my stamina. Today I managed an 8.5 mile run and have maintained a pace <9mins a mile. Usually I average at 9/10 mins so I’m hoping I can keep this up!


Please visit my JustGiving page and sponsor the massive effort that is this training! I don’t enjoy running, I usually stick to 3 miles because it’s just enough to keep me fit and I am finding this a huge challenge.


Why am I doing this?

In a few months I will be going to Africa as part of an ICS programme to support Challenges Worldwide, a charity that works with start-up businesses who request help from volunteers. With help from ICS, Challenges Worldwide are aiming to grow 750 businesses, improving local economies and helping to fight poverty in developing countries. The money I raise will go towards supporting in-country volunteers and the sustainability of the ICS programme.


The return of the blog.

I have relatively big news that I am now in a position to share – I will soon be packing up, taking a sabbatical from work and moving to Africa for up to 6 months! I am really excited to have been selected to volunteer overseas with Challenges Worldwide on an International Citizen Service (ICS) placement. Exact location TBC before you ask…

ICS works with communities that have specifically requested their help, and also aims to inspire young people in the UK and overseas to become active citizens who are passionate about long term community development.

ICS partner with charities all over the world, but I have chosen to volunteer as a Team Leader for Challenges Worldwide because they send volunteers to start-up businesses looking for financial, marketing and other business support.

The first part of my placement is a challenge to raise £500 towards the work of Challenges Worldwide and their ICS partners. My company, The BGL Group, will then match fund the amount to reach a total of £1000.

The money raised will go towards enabling the overall costs of ICS, ensuring they can to continue to support youth volunteers in Africa, and to send UK volunteers to the developing world to make a lasting difference in disadvantaged communities.

Amongst other things, I’ll be running a half marathon to raise funds, and you can keep track of how I get on here or through my Justgiving page. Although I have been running for a year now, I rarely venture more than 3 miles, so 13 miles is guaranteed to turn my legs to jelly…

Any contribution from you will make a real difference to the lives of people in developing countries, so please dig deep!

Thanks in advance for your support and stay tuned for updates on my journey.

Just Giving: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/soffiabowring