For the past two years, I’ve been working closely with Mencap through my company, Gemserv – one of Mencap’s corporate partners. I have come to learn of and appreciate the honourable work that Mencap carries out to improve the lives of people with a learning disability .

I have a friendship with Lloyd Page, an ambassador and volunteer for Mencap, and have been inspired by some of the initiatives he’s taken on in his many years at Mencap. These include the recent Changing Places scheme to introduce suitable changing facilities for people profound and multiple learning disabilities across the country.

Gemserv staff have worked hard to raise over £20,000 for Mencap in the past two years, through bake sales, quizzes, barbeques and our very own industry battle of the bands competition RPI – X Factor (see photo above). But running the Great North Run is a personal challenge that I’ll particularly enjoy.

The Great North Run will be my first half marathon. Although I’m not an entirely inexperienced runner, having run the British London 10k in 2013, I’m yet to run the full half marathon distance. I’m not even certain of what time I’m aiming for.

But the thought of putting on the Mencap t-shirt in September and running my hardest to raise money will inspire me to keep on going. The serious training is just starting. It’s been hard to get myself out of the door on the cold, wet mornings – but once I’m out on the streets and getting into my stride, the adrenaline gets pumping and it all feels worth it.

I’m not looking forward to cutting out the chips (or the beer) as the race gets closer, but knowing that it’s for such a great cause will more than make up for that!

I’ve just set up my online fundraising page, and have asked my friends on Facebook and Twitter, my family and my colleagues to donate as much as they can. Gemserv have agreed to match fund the money that I raise up to the value of £1,000 – which means that every pound will go twice as far!

When the weather improves, I’ll be inviting my colleagues and some Mencap friends to a barbecue – although I might be going easy on the burgers!

Running the Great North Run for Mencap is a tremendous honour. People like Lloyd are my inspiration, and appreciating the work that he does spurs me on to longer distances and faster runs.