To take on a challenge event and raise money for a charity is a truly honourable thing. Officially working in the charity sector for nearly ten years now, I always held these people in high regard but shamefully never committed myself. This year I thought it was time... tri time to be exact.

Before I took on the challenge with generally good residual fitness, I thought

‘I can do this, it won’t be that hard’.

What I found was a slightly different story. I realised that although the physical challenge really was a challenge, what I got back is something that I didn't expect - a great sense of achievement that a lot of us seek but rarely get outside of our work lives.

Most people take on challenges that involve one discipline and they spend their time training to perfect this. I had the task of trying to be at least capable in three. Like a lot of people out there (as I have been reassured) I default to breaststroke when swimming. I was quickly told by my sister (that has just completed a half ironman and a stage of the Tour de France) that breaststroke doesn’t cut it.

I persisted with front crawl and soon realised I could do it.

Another thing about taking on a challenge event for a charity is the fact you have the added pressure to fundraise. However, what I have learnt over the last six months of training and fundraising is that, if you challenge yourself, it may be hard and stressful at times but what you achieve outweighs all of that stress.

I’ve learnt:

  • To front crawl quite well
  • To run without feeling like an asthma attack is imminent
  • To perfect my baking skills following a rather successful bake sale at Chelsea and Westminster hospital
  • To train with my husband without wanting to harm him(!)
  • How generous my friends and family are.

I felt an amazing sense of achievement when I finished the race on 8 August 2015. Knowing that the scary decision I made back in January has made a difference to another person is a great feeling.

If you don’t push yourself, life would get pretty boring – so go on – challenge yourself today!

Has Laura's story inspired you to take on a challenge for Haven House? Visit our challenge event pages to find the right event for you