Your Story: Louise's first marathon

I’ve never been a natural athlete, but I have dabbled in running a bit over the years (mainly to counteract the booze in my twenties if I’m honest!). After having my second child, my friend set us the challenge of running a 10k race in under 60 minutes.  She coerced me into joining the local running group ‘Wheathampstead Warriors’ for support – and it’s fair to say I got the bug...

Another friend convinced me to stretch to a half marathon, and I soon realised that distance running suited my ‘plodding style’!  I really didn’t think I would ever want to run a marathon – why on earth would I want to put myself through that?!  But after seeing my husband complete one last year, it made me feel like it could be possible.

I have two young children, and a full-time career, so training for a marathon was always going to be a real challenge.  I felt that running for a charity would give me the motivation I needed to push me out running on the cold dark nights and help me achieve the distance on the day.

I’ve worked for TUI for 15 years, and over that time I have become very familiar with the fantastic work of the Family Holiday Association and the difference they can make for families.  I’m aware that I am in a very fortunate position that I can afford to take my children on holiday every year (TUI discount helps!) and I truly believe that the time we spend together as a family brings us closer together.  So, when I was looking for a charity to support through my marathon, the FHA was a natural choice.  The stories I read inspire me so much and knowing that raising this money will bring sunshine into these families’ lives gets me out of the house and into my trainers. 

Adding fundraising and marathon training into my schedule has been a juggling act, but it’s going ok.  I held a ‘book and bake’ sale in the office in October which raised over £160, and I’m holding a ‘Race Night’ at the end of January where I’m relying on friends to drink and gamble…all in the name of charity of course!  I set up a Just Giving page as soon as I got my place, and I’ve added it to my email signature at work as well as my Facebook profile.  Over the next few months I’ll be sending it to anyone I’ve ever met asking for sponsorship! 

Training has commenced in earnest now that we’re into the New Year.  I’m starting from a relatively good base as I did a half marathon in November, but I’m trying to increase the frequency of my runs as well as building up strength by adding in some hill and speed work.  I’m still slightly dreading some of the training runs that I know are ahead, but I’m also very determined so will be gritting my teeth and knowing that every step will make race day easier.  Bring on April 26th





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