Four WAY members took on the ultimate challenge to raise an incredible amount of money for WAY earlier this month by undertaking the Virtual London Marathon in their local areas.
Participants had 24 hours on Sunday, 3 October 2021 to complete the marathon distance of 26.2 miles and WAY is delighted to say that all participants completed the challenge successfully!
A huge thank you to everyone who took part in this opportunity to complete the London Marathon virtually – it took commitment, dedication and strength! And to all those who donated and supported our fab four.
Read on to find out how these incredible members managed to overcome considerable challenges to raise £3,000 for WAY...
Jane celebrating her success
Leicestershire WAY member Jane Bogges set out to run the full marathon distance and describes how the support of family and friends – and the memory of her late husband Alex – helped her through. Jane smashed her £1,000 target, raising almost £1,500 for WAY (including Gift Aid).
“I had already decided to run the 42.2k as five 8k loops from my house and then a last little run round the block to the finish line on my driveway. I set up a little aid station at the end of my road with additional drinks, sugar filled goodies and painkillers to keep me moving. I’d threaded Alex’s ashes bead through my trainer laces during my training and so I could carry him with me whilst I ran on Sunday. It was amazing to have already raised over £1,000 for WAY before I had even set off!
A 7am start and the first three laps went to plan and I was bang on the time I had planned, fuelled by Lucozade and jelly babies! At the end of lap 4 I hit that infamous wall and could suddenly feel my body start to say ‘no more’ and I shed a few tears!
I’m truly grateful for the support of one of my neighbours who ran/walked (mostly walked!) that fifth loop with me and encouraged me to keep going. I then tagged with the youngest of my three children to do the last 2k to the finish line held by my middle one. Then I collapsed in a heap on the road and was given a glass of champagne by one of my best friends and the kids ran for ice packs for my knees! A finish time of 5:43:24, which was only 15 mins slower than what my predicted time was if everything went perfectly. I’ll take that for a first marathon!
Finishing my biggest challenge without Alex was definitely bittersweet, but I am incredibly proud of what I have achieved, the amount I raised, and how I have shouted about WAY from the rooftops to whoever will listen these last few months!
I owe a big thank you to everyone who supported me and donated. It was incredibly tough doing most of it on my own, and though I would love to say never again in a million years, I already know part of me would love to get swept along with the crowds and the frenzy of actually running through London. So not right now, but maybe just maybe, I’ll give it another shot!”
Fiona (right) and her crew
Carrying an ankle injury, Sussex WAY member Fiona Baker walked with colleagues from Bakerwell Ltd as representatives of Building Sussex Connections who have chosen WAY as their charity of the year.
Fiona described her day: “It was great having the support of my colleagues and furry friends. We kept smiling and it was fantastic to walk down the Adur river to the sea at the end. We managed to pick possibly the only flat route in Sussex and we passed a fair few marathon runners on their way back as we set off for the day.”
Together, Fiona, Kiri, Tom (and dogs) covered 57.5 miles with injured Fiona managing 18 miles of the marathon distance.
Karen Whybrow post run
Karen Whybrow ran the Virtual London Marathon close to her home in Essex. ]She describes running the marathon distance virtually, on her own without the traditional London marathon crowds as a good analogy to grieving.
“I have to say doing it on my own was extremely hard but it seemed fitting for the situation me and many of you are in. We have to do everything, make every decision for ourselves and have limited support. We do all this and rarely ask for help and the only people who really know what’s going on are in WAY.”
Karen raised over £1,000 for WAY (including Gift Aid) and knows that she couldn’t have done that without the support of her family and friends:
“I completed the distance in 5 hours and 30 minutes – it is a very long way! I am so proud of myself for achieving this epic distance and know Ben was with me pushing me on. Thank you to everyone who supported me and thank you to my mum for looking after the girls and the puppy!”
Karen Williams on race day
Karen is a WAY member from Worcestershire. She wanted to run the virtual London Marathon for WAY as she has received support by from WAY’s online Zooms and connecting with others has allowed her to share her story and learn from others’ experiences.
“I actually really enjoyed my run, albeit that I tumbled over and hurt both my knees at around mile 14, so the rest was a mix of running/jogging and the final mile walking as my knees were too painful," said Karen.
"I completed the distance in a total time of 6 hours and 50 minutes, which was not too bad given the state of my legs. I also managed to raise a total of £485.00 (£588.75 including Gift Aid) – it’s amazing what you can do/achieve even in the darkest of times.”