Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Running the London Marathon for Our Countryside

Emily Guy (right, with fellow runner Hannah Birch)
Plantlife Marathon Runner 2014

Luke, Plantlife Moderator: One of the fantastic ways people can raise money for Plantlife is by running the London Marathon. This year we were blessed with a team of seven runners Emily Guy, Anna Worthington, Hannah Birch, Mike Farrow,  Richard Challis and Zoe Floate. All passed the finish line and we would like to say a big "Thank You". Running the marathon is a huge challenge and we are honoured they chose Plantlife as their cause. Here's Emily's story:

"The London marathon was a challenge I had always wanted to set myself. It would test my mental strength and determination and was something only I could do for myself.

I am lucky enough to have lived in such beautiful parts of Britain and having rowed through my teenage years we spent a great deal of time out in the countryside enjoying the views, waterways and roads in my training.

After leaving school I started working at a garden centre during university, it was here a friend introduced me to Plantlife and the work they do. About two years ago I noticed they had fundraisers running the London Marathon for them. I was in awe of their determination and the money supporters donated.

Last spring, along with some running friends we entered the public ballot; this was potluck so with no idea if we would get a place we decided to ask Plantlife if they would let us run and fundraise for them. Unbelievably they said yes and the challenge was set.

It wasn't plain sailing through the year- between us we broke a foot, broke an ankle, hurt a hip and shoulder and had an assortment of other running related injuries and missed weeks of training. However, the determination to raise money to protect the countryside, wild flowers and our own personal reasons for choosing Plantlife kept us going across the winter. Each training run took us through the countryside and past the plant life we were helping to protect, a daily reminder that it was worth it.

We worked on a basic fitness level first until December when we chose to follow the marathons beginner 17 week plan. It is essentially three runs per week and some cross training if you had time.

Before we got to London we had some amazing donations, more reason to keep going when it got really tough. We are organising a raffle to add to the proceeds and have made jewellery and some Christmas cards which we sold to friends and family. All of this was extra incentive to make sure we made it to the finish line.

Caught on camera! 
Amazingly we all did, exhausted, emotionally wrecked and completely elated I personally made it in 4:34. It was by far the hardest challenge I've done but the most rewarding. The atmosphere is electric and the crowds are cheering for you, the noise is awesome, the sights keep you plodding on and crossing the finish line is the best feeling ever.

A marathon will never be an easy achievement, but it's one I would recommend to anyone and one that will never be taken away."

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