Doing my own PR

sara.lamper's picture

Usually I blog about work-related matters (when I do, cobblers' children and all that...) but I am bending my own rules with a slightly more personal blog.

Life has changed a lot in the last 18 months. I've lost several stone and got back into running to the extent that in a couple of weeks I will be taking part in the UK's biggest half marathon, the Great North Run.

I'm a big believer in collaboration when it comes to work. When you are a small business, having other professionals to share ideas with, seek advice from and take inspiration from is massively useful. I have a great professional network with whom I share many hours. Sometimes we work jointly for clients, sometimes we just use one another as a "virtual" pair of hands to lift heavy loads and share the ideas process.

I am finding the personal journey I am taking is benefiting equally from collaboration. From a throw-away conversation one evening, my friend, Jenni, and I have come a huge distance. We have shed 11 stones between us, done three 10k races this year and, I hope, are ready to complete the Great North Run on 11 September.

While we both relish a challenge, our fundraising aims are different, although both family-based. I am raising funds for Cancer Research UK, having lost all my grandparents, both parents, a much-loved uncle and my goddaughter's father to the disease, while Jenni is supporting research into Alzheimers. If you feel you can support us, please visit where you can find out more about our efforts.

Training has been quite a journey. I already knew from the past that I could do the running bit but Jenni had never run 100m, although she had always been very active, particularly cycling a lot. She was a lot more clued up on nutritiion than me and certainly better at ensuring we entered our races.

But the real collaboration comes in the moral support whenever the diets or the training has gone wrong, one of us is injured or one of us is just generally fed up and demotivated. We don't train together but we do race together and, despite the fact that we are about a foot different in height, we usually finish together. The picture on the right shows us having completed our last 10k before the Great North Run. It was hot, I'd overdone the training on the previous Friday and was generally grumpy, sore and out of sorts. Jenni kept me going, at one point chatting away merrily while all I could manage in return was monosyllabic grunts!

The same weekend, I was also collaborating with a friend on a professional matter and it struck me that, in reality, there was very little difference between the two experiences. Collaboration can be a powerful tool in achieving success. It can make the difference between struggling on to a less that satisfactory conclusion or reaching the finish with a smile. It can also make the whole process much more enjoyable or much less stressful, depending on which way the wind is blowing.

The most essential element of successful collaboration is trust: that way you and your competitors can both make progress, even if not always in the same direction!