Meet our “Cross Fit” runner, Zayd

It’s fair to say, Zayd is a very sporty dentist. He loves all types of sport, including football, hiking, walking, swimming, cycling, and now running. He took to running in lockdown, as a way of stopping going stir crazy, keeping fit, and getting his 1 hour of exercise a day.

He’d always wanted to run the London Marathon and when the BDA Benevolent Fund offered him a Charity place in the Virtual London Marathon, he was delighted to accept.

He’s a keen charity fundraiser too, having just completed the Mighty Hike Challenge, in Ullswater, raising funds for MacMillan Cancer Support.

I have always had a keen interest in helping those less fortunate than myself. My wife completed the Mighty Hike with me, and we were so proud of hiking those 26 miles over rough terrain. It’s given me more confidence, now I know what 26 miles on foot is like.

Zayd has a varied, cross-fitness approach to his marathon training. His weekly activity incorporates swimming, running, cycling, spin classes, and football. He’s running a couple of times a week now and has got up to 12 miles for his long runs.

He is one of our virtual runners and is considering a route along the Fylde Coast for his marathon run on 3rd October.

It’s flat along the coast. I’m getting all the grueling training out of the way now and hope to have a more relaxed, flat run for the marathon itself. I don’t have a specific time in mind to complete the 26mile marathon – completion is my goal. I think it will take me between 5-6 hours.

Zayd’s training took a bit of a hit when he was diagnosed positive with COVID19.

Whenever I get ill, it affects my chest because I’m asthmatic, so it hit me hard for a while. But I was determined to get back out there and train. I’d committed to fundraising and running the marathon for the BDA Benevolent Fund. That was a huge incentive to get back on track.

Zayd seems to have a huge amount of resilience. His wedding plans were also affected by COVID19. Initially, due to be married in April 2020, it was cancelled due to the first UK lockdown. He and his fiancé, Karishma, took the plunge as soon as they could in June, with an intimate guest list of 6.

The happy couple not only shares a love of fitness; they both also work in dentistry.

I’d always wanted to be a dentist. Initially, though, I worked as a Radiotherapist. It was a great job and stood me in good stead for working in dentistry. I trained at UCLAN and now I tutor at UCLAN once a week, as well as working in the same general dental practice, so I’ve come full circle.

When he’s not busy working, teaching, and training for marathons, Zayd can be found supporting his local football club Blackburn Rovers.

I’m from Blackburn, so of course, my favourite team is Blackburn Rovers. I have had a season ticket for the past few years and I’m also part of the NextGen Blackburn Rovers Supporters Club and get involved with the local community.

Getting involved with community, fitness, and fundraising makes Zayd a perfect candidate for the marathon run.

If you’d like to donate visit our fundraising page.

Take a look at how Zayd got on.

Dentists on the run…

The nights are drawing in. We’re approaching the comfort blanket of Autumn where the world slows down a bit and we want to curl up on the sofa, in front of Netflix and a cosy fire. But while we’re all settling down in our slippers, we have a team of dentists donning their running shoes and braving the drizzle and darker mornings to train for the London Marathon in October.

This will be the biggest marathon ever staged in the world. A total of 100,000 runners are taking part with a 50/50 split of virtual and real-life event runners.

COVID19 hugely affected our ability to fundraise in 2020. We’d love it if the London Marathon became our biggest fundraising event ever. The individual runners are looking to hit a collective target of over £8,000.

Learn more: here’s how the team performed at the Virtual London Marathon 2021.

Meet our “Park run” runner, Helen

Helen absolutely loves running. And we mean ❤ LOVES ❤ running.

She can be seen at her local park runs in Gedling and Colwick, depending on whether she fancies a hilly or a flat run. She’s also done tough mudders and completed the Great North Run in Newcastle a couple of times in her years as a student dentist.

The start line for the Great North Run was basically right outside my house so there were no excuses to get out of it. Seriously though, running has always been something I enjoy; even in the rain. In fact, especially in the rain. I don’t mind it. The muddier the better.

Helen is competing in the Virtual London Marathon, which means she has 24 hours on 3rd October to do the marathon on any route she chooses but she will be looking to complete it all in one go.

I’m looking at completing it in around 4-5 hours. I’m not a fast runner but I’m steady. I just keep ongoing.

And being the sociable person she is, she’s drafting help from family and friends to keep her motivated. They will be joining her at different places on route to break up the 26 miles.

Music is another thing that keeps her motivated and she’ll definitely be tuning in to the Smile Spotify playlist that is being developed by the BDA Benevolent Fund to help the marathon runners.

I love all different types of music and get bored if the same songs come on, so having a big variety is good for me. I’ll need lots of choice to keep me going for 5 hours! I also like to vary my routes. It’s more exciting when you’re exploring new runs through the countryside.

As well as being motivated by her personal goal of running a marathon, and the joy she gets from running, Helen is delighted to be able to raise the profile of the Charity For All Dentists.

I’ve only recently become aware that a charity exists to support dentists, and everyone should know about it. This year has been incredibly tough for our profession. The self-employed have been hit hard and the financial struggle affects people’s mental health too. I expect many people will reach out if they know about the Charity and I’m honoured to be able to raise funds and awareness for them.

Helen, like many, was considering a huge variety of professions before she settled on dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry has become another passion and her creative flair is put to great use.

I absolutely love my job, my patients, and the dental team I work with. I’m so lucky and happy to have chosen this profession.

Helen is training hard, and running half marathon distances on her long runs, as well as ‘short’ 5k park runs.

When thinking about the route she’ll run for the virtual marathon, there is further evidence of her creativity as she explains a sort of petal loop effect, circling back to her home as a centre point. That will look great on Strava.

We’re sure that her love of running, her family and friends, and support from the dental community will keep her going and get her across that marathon finish line.

If you’d like to donate visit our fundraising page.

Take a look at how Helen got on.

Meet our “In Real Life” runner, Rob

Rob has been waiting a long time to run the London Marathon. He’s a seasoned runner and applied way back in 2019 to run in April 2020, but we all know what caused the cancellation of the London Marathon, not just once, but twice in that year.

COVID19 closed down the city centre to commuters, tourists, and residents alike.

It was disappointing not to run the marathon in 2020, as part of a live event, but they did put on a virtual event so participants could make use of all the training. I did the virtual event in around 3hours 30 and I would quite like to get a personal best on 3rd October, but to be honest, I’m just really looking forward to being involved in a large-scale event in London, albeit under different circumstances to how they did it in the past.

Rob has been training for such an extended period of time, that it has now become more of a way of life.

Running for me is a way of destressing. COVID completely changed my outlook on life, as it did for many people, and it was an incentive to get as fit as possible. I didn’t want to catch the train or tube to work anymore and took up cycling. Many of my colleagues and friends have done the same and incorporated fitness into their everyday activities too. I really feel like the fitter you are, the more able you are to cope with whatever life brings your way.

Rob shares his activities on his social media channels, and he has received many messages from followers explaining they have been inspired to get fitter as a result. He is an ambassador for promoting the benefits of talking about mental health and, in particular, encourages men around him to have conversations about it.

I wrote an article about my experience of mental ill-health and it was featured in Dentistry Magazine. It seemed to help people to open up.

Dentistry has been a tough industry to be in through the COVID pandemic. Shift patterns have changed; dentists have had lockdowns, fallow patches, and then longer shifts to catch up with backlogs; many have been through financial difficulties, particularly if they are self-employed and weren’t able to take advantage of the furlough scheme. Rob recognises it’s been particularly hard and is honoured to be raising money for the BDA Benevolent Fund, so more help can be offered to those in the profession that need it.

I love my work. I knew I wanted to go into dentistry as a profession because I wanted to work in healthcare and there was a much greater appeal of looking into people’s mouths than, well, other areas a GP might be looking! It has its stressful moments but I’m lucky enough to live near Richmond Park and work near Clapham Common. When I put on my Brooks trainers and have an early morning or lunchtime run, it helps clear the mind.

Rob listens to music while running, or sometimes audiobooks for variation, but when he’s on an early morning run, he turns down the volume to listen to the birdsong and appreciate the nature around him.

If you’d like to donate, visit our fundraising page.

Take a look at how Rob got on.

Meet our foodie runner, Ronan

Like many of us, Ronan Lee set a few personal goals during the first COVID19 lockdown:

  • Learn a new piano piece
  • Perfect sourdough bread
  • Run a marathon

He has ticked the piano piece off the list and is now able to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Unfortunately, the sourdough has defeated him, but we’ll put money on the fact (and hope you do too) that he’ll complete his third goal of running a marathon on 3rd October. And not only complete it, but he has an ambitious personal best goal of sub-4hours. Not bad for someone who was a reluctant cross-country runner in his earlier years.

I set the goal of running a marathon in the first lockdown. I had run a bit before then but not with any goal in mind.

Ronan can be seen training in London but only if you’re up before the larks.

I like to run early in the morning, about 5.30 am. It’s a great start to the day. I don’t like it when the streets get busy, or if it gets too hot, so early morning runs are the best for me. I’m also a virtual runner in the London Marathon and want to be able to complete it before the actual live event takes place. That means starting early!

Ronan is steadily increasing his distance runs and is currently running around 15k at a time. He’s also working with a sports therapist to ensure he remains fit and healthy and can complete the training and event without injury.

When asked about his motivation for running, Ronan speaks about another passion in his life – food. He is a keen chef and true foodie. His Instagram account is full of the most delicious-looking dishes he’s created or tasted.

I love cooking and eating, so I need to run to stay healthy and fit. I love dishes from around the world and can’t begin to choose my favourite type, although South East Asian cuisine is certainly at the top.

Ronan is adapting his diet and being careful about the type of food he eats before running. He avoids heavy meals beforehand and focuses on food that has good hydrating and energy-fuelling properties.

As well as the fear of running the marathon itself, Ronan is drawing on his Strava community to help keep him motivated.

I love connecting with people and comparing the runs. You get ‘kudos’ when you’ve done a good run. It can get quite competitive and addictive. The biggest motivator though is raising funds for the BDA Benevolent Fund.

Ronan is a final year dentistry student at Kings College London. He knew about the BDA Benevolent Fund and was delighted to be able to support them with this fundraising effort.

I’ve wanted to be a dentist since the age of 12. My parents are dentists; therefore, I have grown up with dentistry. It will be great to support the profession by raising funds to help other dental students, dentists, and their families. My family, friends, and local dental practices have been fantastic so far and contributed to the fundraiser. I’m nearly halfway there and with just over 4 weeks to go, I hope I can smash the fundraising target, as well as achieve a time of under 4 hours. I look forward to watching the live event from the comfort of a nice café terrace.

If you’d like to donate, visit our fundraising page.

Take a look at how Ronan got on.