And when she saw the difference the Social Clubs were making to her local community she decided to go that extra mile - quite literally! - and fundraise by taking on the Beachy Head Marathon.
What inspired you to take on the Beachy Head Marathon?
I’ve always loved running so decided to set myself a challenge last year to do my first marathon. I chose to do the Beachy Head Marathon in Eastbourne in October 2018 because the course looked beautiful and I have a weird love of running up and down hills.
What inspired you to fundraise for North London Cares?
I started volunteering for North London Cares in the summer of 2018, when I had already booked myself a place on the marathon. I hadn’t originally planned to fundraise for any charity but when I started at North London Cares, I immediately saw how much good the charity was doing for the local community, so it made sense to support them!
How did you prepare for your challenge?
I booked the marathon on my 33rd birthday in June as a slightly sadistic test for myself, which gave me four months to train for it. I was already a regular runner and often did trail runs at the weekends but to complete a marathon I needed to seriously up my mileage. Long runs around Epping Forest became a regular weekend fixture.
What you most looked forward to and most dreaded about taking on the challenge?
The thing I most dreaded about the challenge was not being able to complete it or being in significant pain – I managed to pick up a couple of injuries through training which meant that long runs sometimes had to be cut short. I actually didn’t run at all in the month before race day (tapering to the extreme) in the hope that the break would allow my injuries to heal enough for me to be able to complete the course.
What the challenge was like on the day, and how you felt after you’d completed it?
Race day was an icy day but with beautiful blue skies. I was more excited than nervous on the start line – I got into the mindset of thinking it would just be a nice long walk if I wasn’t able to run it due to my injured knee. Thanks to a lot of taping and a massively stubborn streak I managed to get round. Eight friends came down to Eastbourne to watch me run and gave me a brilliant reception when I crossed the line which made me burst into (happy) tears. I had a huge sense of achievement when I finished, matched only by an overwhelming desire to sit down.
Any advice for anyone taking on a similar challenge?
Give yourself enough time to train properly. There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re going to let people/ the charity down due to your own poor preparation!
Posted by Victoria Buckle on Tuesday 20th August 2019
Victoria is North London Cares' Development Coordinator