Updated: Feb 8, 2021
I’m Kathy (37) and in October 2018 I was successful in gaining a place, through the ballot, for the London marathon. I’d been running for about 2 years. It started when I had to move from Devon to Cheshire, a move that meant leaving friends and family behind. I’d been depressed through a large part of my 20’s and had found exercise, mostly spin classes, really helpful; but when I moved the spin classes just weren’t the same. I needed to find something else. I found parkrun. A year later, I found the courage to join a running club, where I spent a lot of time quietly on the edge of the group, but it wasn’t too long before I had been persuaded to run a race. Just a 10k. Then, a while later … a half marathon (I bet you can see where this going). Running not only helped me to manage my depression, it gave me ‘my running family’. A place I belong and am supported by most wonderful group of people who have taught me that, with a bit of support, I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to. I would never have entered a marathon without them!
The running club I joined is Macclesfield Harriers, one of the clubs that ran with Ben on the 401 challenge. But when Ben was running his marathons I had only just joined, there was no way I could run even part of a marathon (at least that’s what I thought) and … I was still very quietly standing at the back! None the less, the story of Ben, his 401 marathons and later his aspirations for the 401 foundation really resonated with me. So, after the frantic phone calls home and the excitement that I actually had a place in the 2019 London marathon had passed, I knew that if I was going to 26.2 miles, I would also raise awareness and money for the 401 foundation.
It was easy, I e-mailed the team at 401 who said they would love it if I could raise some money whilst running the marathon and sent me a vest with the foundation logo. When I set up my online fund raising page I just thought ‘better to raise some money than not’, I didn’t really have a goal in mind maybe just a couple of hundred. I posted training updates and shared some of the highs and lows of marathon training on social media, the response from the people I’ve met in life was amazing! They showed their support for me in abundance, raising £1,700.
After months of training, the day of the marathon was perfect. Not too hot, slightly overcast but not cold either. The event is huge! An unimaginable number of people turn up to run, turn out on the streets to cheer you on and volunteer to ensure the event is as smooth as it can be. Of course, I also had the support of my running family, I remember seeing them at mile 8, waving and cheering me on, and I shouted “I’m running a marathon!” mostly because I don’t think I really believed it, rather than just in case they hadn’t noticed!! The marathon was a brilliant experience, I’d highly recommend it!
I chose the 401 foundation because I hope that through their projects someone else can have the opportunity to build their confidence and self-esteem to find their own happy.