Marathon Blog: Chris Barrand & Simon Mckay
Name: Simon Mckay
Age: 38 (39 on marathon day)
Company: OFI Global
Name: Chris Barrand
Age: 28 (29 on marathon day)
Company: Level Equity
How long have you been involved with Horizons and how did you first hear about us?
Simon: I have been involved since 2005-2006 when I first became a PAL volunteer in the Playspace program.
Chris: Horizons has been in my family for 20+ years. My mom was on the board and has served as the CEO of Horizons for the last two years.
Why did you choose to run for Horizons over other organizations with which you’re involved?
Simon: This is an easy question to answer; it goes back to 2005-2006 when I first started volunteering as a PAL in the Playspace program. I was a assigned to this young boy and one day he was really upset. When I asked him why, he told me “My mom and I are leaving this shelter and I will never see you again.” Horizons helped this family to find a home. I knew I wanted to run one more marathon and I would do it for Horizons.
Chris: I wanted to run the marathon for Horizons because of what the organization means to my mother, our family, and the Boston community. This year was a big birthday for her and she’s always told me that she appreciates experiences over gifts so here I am! Anyway, more importantly, I know the impact Horizons can have on a child and their family, reducing the trauma these children face at such a tender age. We have an opportunity to help improve lives of young homeless children in Massachusetts.
When asking family/friends for donations, what strategies have you found to be most successful?
Simon: I believe I have been successful with my fundraising because of how I shared my story on my Crowdrise page. I wrote how many homeless children live in Massachusetts. It’s so hard to fathom there are over 16,000 homeless children in Massachusetts. I also shared how early childhood developments about children who are homeless are 2X more likely to have a learning disability and 3X more likely to have emotional instability. I use these statistics and tie it back to my own children and our family life. I can’t imagine the struggles these parents face and not having the support that my family has right now. My children have great role models that they interact with on a day-to-day basis leading them to a successful path. I believe these stories and statistics have inspired my family and friends to want to help Horizons too.
Chris: I’ve been lucky to have tons of support already. I organized two fundraisers in Boston and New York City that were both very successful. My friends and family want to help me to succeed. It felt like my wedding except it cost me nothing and everyone donated to my favorite charity. I do hope to improve on my targeted email fundraising before race day, but I have been incredibly busy at work and it’s been a struggle for me to find time.
What has been the most challenging part of fundraising for you? What has been the most difficult part of training for you?
Simon: Timing has been really difficult, especially with the fundraising! It’s so hard to find time to reach out to friends/family for donations. Amazingly the training has been relatively easy and has been really enjoyable. I like the structure of the training and the time you have for yourself to think about a lot of things!
Chris: Finding time has been really difficult; my job has been really busy and the weekend weather has been lousy. That said, the training has been really enjoyable for me, especially since I am running the marathon with my girlfriend!
What will be the most rewarding part of this experience for you?
Simon: The most rewarding part of this experience is the emotional piece of it, by dedicating my time, raising money, spreading the word on a big and bad problem and working on a way to solve it. It will be so rewarding to know I am helping children and families in need. Also, selfishly, I always want to be a good role model for my sons, and I know they are watching me go through this experience.
Chris: This is my first marathon and I am enjoying seeing how much I can push myself. It’s also rewarding to run this marathon in honor of my mom and supporting a cause that I can really get behind. Training for 26.2 miles and fundraising for $10,000 could be a really daunting experience, but since I am running a marathon for an organization that I have grown up to care about a lot, it has not been daunting at all and has been really rewarding!
Would you recommend a family member/friend to run for Horizons? If so, what would you say is the best part of running for Horizons?
Simon: Absolutely, the cause and the impact Horizons has on their children and families.
Chris: Agreed it’s hard not to look at photos of these adorable children and not want to help them. I can’t imagine what they are going through. I think about my own childhood and how blessed I am for the opportunities and childhood I have been given.
What will be the first thing you eat after you run 26 miles?
Simon: Chocolate milk, I heard it’s one of the best things you can have after a long run!
Chris: Chocolate Almond milk!
Please consider supporting the marathon team with a donation today. They look forward to seeing you on April 16th!