4 March 2013

Keep Calm and Run On

posted by Jennifer Godwin

There are several members of the UALR community who participated in the Little Rock Marathon this weekend. One of them was Peter Charlton, an exchange student from Britain who ran in honor of his aunt. He shares his story with us:

I completed the Little Rock Half Marathon in a time of 1 hour, 30 minutes, and 18 seconds, my lifetime personal best. I’m so glad I was able to set it here in Little Rock.

The race was amazing. I arrived to a mass of runners down in the River Market. The atmosphere was brilliant: The music was playing, runners were warming up and everyone seemed excited to set off. The race itself was my favourite part, jogging the first couple of miles into North Little Rock. Listening to the bands playing was inspiring. Music playing on the streets and families coming out to offer support and drinks along the route is what these kind of races are all about. I had a very quick first five miles.The volunteers and organisers were incredible. I found coming into Little Rock my knee was starting to hurt and my muscles were starting to get tight. However, I managed to maintain the pace and when I saw my fellow student friends from UALR, it motivated me to finish the race strong.

I sprinted over the line and as soon as I stopped I felt the pain in my left knee but it was all worth it for my personal best time. I’m so glad to get this opportunity to run in memory of my aunt, who passed away last year from motor neurone disease. The generosity of family and friends back home in Newcastle and of my American friends here in Little Rock has been overwhelming. I’m now up to $662 on my Just Giving page http://www.justgiving.com/Peter-Charlton1

Fantastic day. One of the best highlights of my time in Little Rock.

I’m a Northumbria University student studying business. I completed the first two years of my degree at Northumbria and I’m currently on my study abroad sandwich year at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. The experience here has been amazing. I’ve been here since August and found that the school and people to be awesome! I will be returning for my final year of study at Northumbria University in September.

I’m a very keen runner. I’ve completed the Great North Run in 2011 and The Marathon of the North in 2012 (races back in England). It was always going to be the case that I would run the Little Rock Half Marathon when I found out I was studying here because of my passion for running. I left for my study abroad year in late August 2012, and my aunt, having been diagnosed with motor neurone disease earlier that year, passed away the following month. I was very sad couldn’t join my family at the funeral to say my goodbyes to a wonderful aunt. However, I decided to contact MND and start fundraising for the LR Half Marathon.

Training has been more of a challenge in America than back home in the UK. I’ve been studying and meeting new people so finding time has been difficult. Fast food is everywhere in America so it can be difficult to stay on a good diet. The weather is very unpredictable in Arkansas, which hasn’t helped. However, I got plenty of training runs in by jogging down the Arkansas river trail and through Memorial Park. Little Rock has some fantastic areas to run in.

My aunt was very special to me and our whole family. She always smiled when she saw you. She would always laugh and joke along with you. She would make the whole family laugh and smile.  Aunt Irene will always be missed for her humour, kindness and her ability to make us laugh. The thing I will miss most is her welcoming smile when I walked into the room.

5 Responses to “Keep Calm and Run On”

  1. Alison says:

    Well done, Peter! We are so proud of you here in Northumbria. Thanks to all your American friends and UALR for being so welcoming. Looking forward to having you back to talk to all the younger students about the adventure of study abroad in the US.

  2. Martoons says:

    Yes good stuff bro push it to the limit… achieve your best! – Martin

  3. Gillian says:

    Well done Peter, excellent job for an excellent cause. I am really pleased your having a great time at UALR. Also glad to see Alison already has plans to put you to work and your not even back at Northumbria yet!!!
    Gillian(NU study abroad office)

  4. Abdulla says:

    Great Job man

  5. Melissa (NU Study Abroad Office) says:

    Great job on your run and fantastic effort on your fundraising! It is truly a special way to honor your Aunt. It is lovely to see that you are having such a unique study abroad experience!

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