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With the Virgin London Marathon just a meer 5 days away I thought it would be a good opportunity to tell you about some of the fantastic Too Fat to Run runners taking part.

Our work at Too Fat to Run is not all about running marathons but for some this is a life time goal, and these ladies show you what is possible if you put in the hard work, get support from like minded women and of course believe you can do it in the first place.

I have included a link to each of their fundraising pages, so do support if you can

Name: Sue Lenton  

image2Age: 53  Location: London

How long have you been running? 4 years

Who are you fundraising for and why? Cancer Research –  we have all been affected by cancer, directly in or directly.

What has been the biggest challenge in getting to his point? The mental belief that I can do this!!!

How helpful has the Clubhouse/TFTR been on your journey?  Enormously!  Having people there any time of day or night to ask all the silly questions, someone, somewhere has the answer!

What advice they would give to anyone else thinking of doing a marathon? Prepare! Allow as much time for training that you can.  Also listen to
your body, sort out niggles before they become injuries.

Name: Johanna Thomsonimage1

Age:40  Location: Cheshire

How long have you been running? Since I was a teenager on & off

Who are you fundraising for and why? I am running for the Firefighters Charity, my Dad is a retired Firefighter and they have supported my Mum over the last few years as she has battled back to good health after numerous neurosurgery’s. I’ve wanted to do the London Marathon ever since I watched my Mum do it when I was a teenager. After 10 years of applying I finally got a ballot place.

What has been the biggest challenge in getting to this point? Having the confidence to believe I can do it & telling people I’m running a marathon without being embarrassed. The clubhouse has being a massive help with this.

How helpful has the Clubhouse/TFTR been on your journey? The clubhouse has given me the confidence to believe I can actual complete it, the support from Julie and the members is incredible. The advice & support is invaluable.

What advice they would give to anyone else thinking of doing a marathon? Just do it, I’ve spent too much of m training worrying what other people think, don’t, just get on with it and believe in yourself.

Name: Sarah NicholasFB_IMG_1460575920682

Age: 31  Location: Plymouth, Devon, UK

How long have you been running? I started running end of 2011

Who are you fundraising for and why? I have a place in the ballot for the marathon but have decided to raise money for Hughes Syndrome Foundation –  I am raising money for them because this is what I have. I was diagnosed with DVT in June 2013 and then PE (blood clots in the lungs) in March 2014. During this time they also believe that I had blood clots in my liver and other places.

Just after the PE in March 2014, I was diagnosed with Hughes Syndrome (is also known as antiphospholipid syndrome – APS for short!). This basically means that my blood is sticky and will continue to clot, anywhere in my body and at any time. To stop this from happening I am now on warfarin, a blood thinner for life. There are other complications that come with having Hughes ie migraines and fatigue.

What better way than showing the world that I cannot be beaten!! Even my consultant is 100% behind me running as its helped with my circulation, migraines and fatigue. So while I am out running I thought Hughes Syndrome Foundation would be a perfect charity to raise some money for. It gets people talking about my story, learning what I have been through and raising awareness of blood clots and Hughes along the way.

What has been the biggest challenge in getting to this point? Listening to my body and planning my running around my shift work and also my illness. Because of the fatigue there are some days where I cannot do anything and there are other days where I think I can’t but actually once I am out the run has really helped

How helpful has the Clubhouse/TFTR been on your journey? With out the support of the girls in the club, I don’t think I would have done this. Its a great place to share your run or just off load whats happened. There is always someone to offer support or advice. And it great checking in with people and watching their journey through running. They are very much a big part of my marathon run.

What advice they would give to anyone else thinking of doing a marathon?Seriously look at the commitment. Its a lot! You have to give up at least one day at the weekend plus runs during the week – I am not talking about half an hour, I am out for an hour and half during the week and my longest run will take around 5 hours. ou have to be committed and that includes family and friends. I haven’t seen some of my friends for a few months because of work and running but they all support me and understand. Thankfully my husband runs with me otherwise I wouldn’t be seeing him either. Its the biggest commitment I have ever made…. although I believe it is going to be worth it

Name: Nichola RobsonFB_IMG_1460573853987

Age: 41  Location: Washington, Tyne and Wear

How long have you been running? 2 years

Who are you fundraising for and why? I am fundraising for Cambridge and District Volunteers centre. They help young people classed as NEET (not in employment, education or training) so that they can get into one of those areas and start to make something of their lives.  I believe that this is a very worthwhile charity as I have 3 sons of the age that this charity helps. 2 are at university and 1 is classed as NEET.We don’t have that service in this area (as far as I can find) so the fact that these people do this for young adults in Cambridge is fantastic. I also believe that the smaller charities often need more support than the larger ones as they won’t have as many donations for what they do. (I have previously raised money for a few large charities too, they are just as important)

What has been the biggest challenge in getting to this point? I have found it hard to raise money for this as people see that the charity is in a very different area and always question why I didn’t pick a local charity. My answer is always that I don’t believe it matters that the money isn’t going to my local area when the cause is worthwhile. Those young people are the future of our country and deserve to get help no matter where they live. Who knows, if the charity is successful enough they may branch out to the north east eventually.

How helpful has the Clubhouse/TFTR been on your journey?  The support of fellow runners has been amazing, I would not have made it through the long winter runs without it.

What advice they would give to anyone else thinking of doing a marathon?  I’m set to take 6 1/2 hours to complete this marathon, but to get from start to finish is just putting one foot in front of the other about 55000 times. if you can take 1 step, you can work up to taking that many. If you believe you can do it, and you put in the effort you can do it. Seriously, if anyone would like to do it but think they aren’t good enough or fit enough etc, please just change that thought and believe you can. even if you’ve only taken 10 steps we all start somewhere. When I first started learning to run I couldn’t last more than a few seconds, and my muscles hurt because they weren’t used to any kind of exercise. Perseverance, dedication and hard work can work wonders, but having the amazing support I have had from people around me I would not have got this far at all.

Name: Katherine Martin20160325_142329-2

Who are you fundraising for and why?  Action Medical Research for Children

What has been the biggest challenge in getting to this point?  Training been hampered by injury and family issues but I will finish even if I have to crawl!

How helpful has the Clubhouse/TFTR been on your journey?  TFTR has been so helpful as a support but also a psychological boost. Think when you are a larger person you think you shouldn’t/can’t do the things that everyone else can and when you decide you want to either because you are pigheaded and determined or for health reason you do feel so very self conscious and when you tell people you run you can almost feel their eyes honing in on your fat bits thinking ‘ you are joking aren’t you?’

However I have come to realise through support such as TFTR that is is ok to do what others do and we can actually do it. I have just learnt to swim after being scared of water. Last week I completed 15 lengths of the pool and turn up there in my costume thinking I have as much right to be here as at the start of a race as everyone else!

Name: Charlotte Inwoodimage1
Age: 45 years old  Location: Northampton
How long have you been running? I have been running now for 2 years
Who are you fundraising for and why? I am running for Terrier SOS , they rescue terriers from Spain (mostly) and we got our dog Montee from them 3 years ago.
What has been the biggest challenge in getting to this point?  Biggest challenge -keeping going as a lone runner
How helpful has the Clubhouse/TFTR been on your journey?  It has helped me feel part of a group , and they don’t mind if I ask stupid questions on the group !

Name: Jessica Guth  Age: 37  Location: Keighley, West Yorkshire

JGHow long have you been running? Since January 2015 really with a few stop start attempts at 5k since I was a student.

Who are you fundraising for and why:  I am running for the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund. I didn’t know much about them before given the opportunity to run for them via the TFTR Countdown to Christmas. As ‘the fat kit in PE class’ and someone who really doesn’t see herself as an athlete running for an athletics charity seemed really odd initially. I did some research on them and there are so many things about what they do that really chime with me. They are all about helping people achieve their dreams and providing practical support to do that. That’s what I hope I can do in my day job as Head of Law at the University of Bradford. So the charity is a good fit, we want the same thing; help young people succeed.

What has been the biggest challenge in getting to this point? Well initially it was just getting over that fear of getting out there, the possibility of being seen and the constant feeling of not being good enough and never being able to do it. As I did improve it was about learning to accept that most runs are not amazing. Most are just horrible hard slogs but the runners’ high after and the sense of achievement make it worth it, the amazing runs where everything clicks and you feel like you are flying also make it all worthwhile. More recently, after doing the Dopey Challenge in January it has been a struggle to get motivated and out there. I completely underestimated how long it would take me to recover from that challenge and that pushed my training for London back. I’ve had a couple of long lingering colds – also as a result of underestimating what this long distance running takes out of you. But I am now healthy and as ready as Iwill ever be. Training hasn’t been perfect but I’m mostly excited and a little terrified.

How helpful has the Clubhouse/TFTR been on your journey? I run with my girlfriend and she has been great in terms of getting me out the door and getting the miles in. The Clubhouse etc give me something else that is really hard to explain. I think one Lady said ‘hope’ which captures some of it. It helps me deal with the mental side of things, the downs when you have a bad run, the excitement when it all goes right. It’s a place to share the roller coaster ride that is running. What has blown me away is that as a community there is absolutely no bitchiness, no competition, no backstabbing or all the things I was expecting on some level. It is a bunch of people together after all. It’s just a group of women who genuinely support each other, who genuinely celebrate success – whether that success is walking to the end of the road or running an ultra – doesn’t matter. I think it is probably unique and I am really grateful to be part of it. Saying I couldn’t have done this without them sounds cliched and false but mentally I am not sure I could do it without them even if I could do the physical training

What advice they would give to anyone else thinking of doing a marathon? Do it. Be prepared (well actually you can’t be, be aware) of the emotional roller coaster that marathon training and running a marathon is. It’s only a little bit about the physical, it’s mostly about being able, mentally, to get out there and do the hard miles and being able to deal with the feeling of never being able to get there and do it. But you can, if I can, anyone can.

10538659_10152748158157463_5211672724280380272_nName: Natalie Anne Jeanette Powell 

Age: 37 

Location: London 

How long have you been running? 3 years off and on. 

Who are you fundraising for and why: Ron Pickering Fund. I have tried entering the marathon a year ago via a different charity but didn’t get in. So the partnership with TFTR meant this was the key to my door to do a life time dream. 

What has been the biggest challenge in getting to this point? Training- I’ve run for pleasure but this is a whole different level. I never realised how much time and effect you need to put in.  This is probably my first and last marathon lol. 

How helpful has the Clubhouse/TFTR been on your journey? Well I’ve had injuries along the way while training. And I’ve wanted to give up a few times too. But with the support of the Clubhouse it’s made me think I’m not alone. I can do this. So it’s gives me confidence when I’m feeling down. Plus your there to give it back with others. 

What advice they would give to anyone else thinking of doing a marathon? Lol….. Make sure your alcohol and dairy free from Jan – Apr. And if you believe in your self that you can do it.. You can do. If I can do it then anyone else out there can. 

Name: Louise (or Lou) Remenyi  Age: 2Lou7 Location:  Reading

How long have you been running?  6 months (I know!) #thisgirlcan

Who are you fundraising for and why?   I won the place as part of a competition ran by OK Our Kids with Get Berkshire Active and their This Girl Can campaign to take a non-runner and have them complete the London Marathon. I am fundraising for Get Berkshire Active and OK Our Kids. 

What has been the biggest challenge in getting to this point? Keeping positive and keeping it all on prospective. So I won’t be able to run the whole way – last year I couldn’t run for 5 minutes never mind the 5 hours plus it’s going to take me!

How helpful has the Clubhouse/TFTR been on your journey?  I joined the clubhouse after taking part in the cams challenges. I was surprised how much having a support network of both people more experienced and beginners like myself really helped to get me out there! These women are fantastic!

What advice they would give to anyone else thinking of doing a marathon?  I think it’s too early for me to give any advice, at the moment it still feels a somewhat unattainable distant goal – even if it’s getting very close all of a sudden! Ask me again on 25th April and I might have another answer!

I think you will agree this is an awesome bunch of women, and we know there are many more running Marathons in our community, including Henna and Becky who ran Brighton on Sunday just gone.

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We are currently raising funds to help support more women on their running journey, we hope to raise £50,000 to lead inclusive running sessions around the UK so why not spare £10 to add to our #Voom2016 campaign in recognition of these ladies and their amazing achievements

Check it out here

On Sunday the Too Fat to Run crew (including me) will have a London Marathon cheering squad between mile 10 and 11, so if you are cheering on loved ones, or just want to be part of the run, come and join us…please wear your TFTR kit if you have some.

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