Your Story: Karen shares her story

"Every year I love to watch the London Marathon from my bed (usually nursing a hangover, eating a pile of toast and drinking a never ending mug of tea). In total awe of everyone that would ever put themselves through such an ordeal.

This year, something made me sit up and make changes."

I realised that there was only me that was stopping myself from achieving the marathon! 

I’d always dreamed of taking part but every year I got older and piled on extra weight.

The week after the 2019 marathon I saw an advert for a local running club who were starting a beginners group. I went along and I swear the first 30 seconds of running were the hardest. But encouraged by the group and my own achievements I continued. I went along the next week, and the next, and then before I knew it I’d run 5k. I was ecstatic and had finally found my running passion (my close friends were however telling me to ‘bore off’ as I showed them all the maps of my runs.)

Then someone sent me a quote that has been in my mind ever since...

‘You’ve not come this far to only come this far’

So I entered a 10k, and then another! My friend got a ballot place in the 2020 London Marathon and I was so pleased for her. But I had other feelings too… I was jealous! I wanted to run the London Marathon!

I hardly recognise myself these days. Training is going well, even the weather isn’t going to stop me (just need to find a jacket that doesn’t cost the earth!).

So why did I want to run for Family Holiday Association?

It’s hard for me to write this without getting emotional. Back in 2012, I finally broke away from a very abusive relationship. It was a chaotic time for me and my children. Lots of agencies were involved in helping us, I found it humiliating (I wasn’t that type of woman) but also so humbling that people I’d never met were so keen to help us.

In 2013 the chaos continued and I was under a lot of stress as were my kids who were affected so badly. One day a woman from social services said that they thought a break would be good for us. They arranged for me and my kids to go to Yorkshire. It was just what we needed, a break! A break away from the chaos, different surroundings and a break away from the enormous stress we were all under.

When I look back to that difficult time I realise how that one act of kindness had such a positive impact on our lives. Thankfully those times are in the past now and we have rebuilt our lives and live so much more happily and free.

It is my great honour to run for Family Holiday Association, the charity that organised that much needed break. I know first-hand that they really do make a real and long lasting difference to families.

Fundraising is tougher than the training, especially in the lead up to Christmas, but who doesn’t like a cake sale??? My first cake sale raised £190, I was over the moon. Online sponsorship has reached the £400 deadline. After Christmas I’m planning a Karen-oke evening and more sales. I am self-employed working from home so not a lot of opportunities to get sponsors but I’m determined to reach my target. I just hope my old lady knees can keep me going long enough to complete 26.2 miles, I just want to get round.

Already this is such an awesome experience, seeing what my body can achieve but also reflecting on the past and seeing how much has changed. Recognising how physically and emotionally strong I have become for both myself and my children.

I literally can’t wait to run along some of my favourite places in London for Family Holiday Association supported by all of my incredible friends and family. 

So thank you and please dig deep!

Karen xx




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