This week we interviewed some of the lovely people who will be running to raise money for Centre 404. All our volunteers came up with the questions and we did phone interviews with Derek and Joseph, and Lisa sent us a little about herself.

Derek Weist – Reading Half Marathon


How did you get involved with Centre 404? 

There was an advertisement in the ‘Guardian’ a year ago.  I was interested in charity work and finding a way to use my skills in finance so I joined the finance committee at Centre 404. It’s a good charity – they do brilliant work.

How much are you going to raise? 

So far I’ve raised around £600. My friends,family and work colleagues all donated generously.

How far are you running? 

13 miles and 200 yards.

Are you fit enough to do running?

Yes, the training is for 12 weeks for 4-5 days a week.  I need to have stamina and be fit enough to do it.

What do you eat and when do you eat when you are training? 

I try to eat better foods for the marathon – pasta, chicken,tuna and carbohydrates and then the night before just pasta and a bowl of cereal like Shreddies the next morning. I’ll also be drinking energy drinks.

Are you going to wear a funny costume? 

No. Last year I was beaten by a banana!

Do runners get blisters? 

No, maybe if you run a full marathon you’ll get blisters.

Have you injured yourself in training? 

No, sometimes I have a problem with my right knee. It can get a bit painful so I do exercises to strengthen it.

Can people in wheelchairs take part? 

Yes, people in wheelchairs have a two-minute start ahead of the main race.

Why did you decide to take part?

I must be mad. It hurts to run so much! I decided to take part to get fit a couple of years ago and I tried  5-10 km runs.  It was suggested  that I run Reading half marathon a year ago.  This year I’m raising money for a good cause.

How long have you been running for?

I started  about 2.5 years ago after I turned 50. I did running at school but didn’t like it much and didn’t run again until 35 years later.

What inspired you to take part? 

It was a personal challenge but also the inspiration was to raise money for a worthwhile charity like Centre 404.

Where will you be running? 

I will be running around the city of Reading.  The finishing line is half way in the football pitch in the Madejski Stadium.

Do you get certificates and medals? 

They give you a big medal for taking part, a foil wrap and a bottle of water.

How many events have you done? 

I have done 14 to 15 runs competitively.

What do you think the challenges are for a half marathon?

The stamina is the biggest challenge.  I have to get my body prepared for the one hour forty-five minutes of running.

When are you going to retire from running?

It depends on my fitness.  I’d like to carry on for another ten years, well into my 60’s.

Do you enjoy the run? 

I enjoy it when it’s finished. It’s nice when the pain stops. I prefer longer runs as you can pace yourself. Usually 20,000 people run the race.  We run through the town centre where people watch and cheer you on, they offer you drinks (sometimes the wrong kind!), a band plays music. It’s really good.

Sponsor Derek here

Joseph Greene – BUPA 10k

Joe BUPA 002

How do you get involved?

I did it in 2011 and then signed up again on the internet this year. You can just sign up for a place.

How much money are you going to raise?

Maybe £400 or £500.

How far are you running?

6 miles.

Are you fit enough to do the running?

Yes if I did it in 2011 I can do it again this year.

Are you going to wear a funny costume?

I wasn’t planning on it. I once saw a man wearing a toilet seat and a man wearing an elephant costume.

Do you get blisters?

I get  sore feet at the end.

Have you been injured whilst training?


Can people in wheelchairs take part?

Yes they can.

Why did you decide to take part?

I didn’t see anyone else willing to do it so I volunteered.

How long have you been running for?

Since 2011.

What inspired you to take part?

I do it for the excitement with all the crowds cheering you on and the release of it. It’s great.

Where will you be running?

St James Park , through the Embankment & near Big Ben

Do you get certificates & medals ?

Yes you get a big medal and a T shirt at the end and also some sweets.

How many events have you done?

This is my second time.

What do you think the challenges are?

It doesn’t really concern me I’ll just take my time.

When are are going to retire?

Properly after this one.

Do you enjoy it?

Of course, it’s excellent!

Sponsor Joseph by calling Centre 404 on 020 7607 8762

Lisa Pook – Edinburgh Marathon


I work in the environment team at the Greater London Authority delivering the Mayor of London’s environmental agenda.

I first came across Centre 404 when an application was made to the Mayor to install a green roof on the proposed refurbishment.  We funded the roof and I went to visit in early July last year.  Upon my visit I was blown away by the space of the garden and what the centre provides. Since then I have volunteered occasionally with plant collections and gardening duties.

I am doing my third (and final) marathon this year. I have decided to celebrate my last long run by raising some funds for Centre 404. I am aiming for a time of 3 hours 30 minutes … I have 6 minutes to knock off my last marathon time.  To assist me with this I am training 4-5 times a week and have given up biscuits…. Which is a bit like hell for a biscuit lover like me!

Any funds that I raise will be put towards the sports club and equipment needed at the centre. I hope that my friends will be generous so that I can hang up my trainers with pride on Sunday 26 May, 2013.

Sponsor Lisa here