I have always been a runner, but I didn’t always enjoy it. Throughout my 16 years in the British Army, I ran to maintain a high level of fitness with the sole aim of ensuring I could pass my annual tests.

But since leaving the Army in January of this year, I have realised I do actually enjoy it. It gives me a chance to spend time outdoors, to put on a podcast and plod along, one foot in front of the other.

I started out running a couple of times a week, and then I was up to 4 times a week. And I was really enjoying it. I was listening to the radio one day, and they were talking about the London Marathon ballot being announced. I thought about running a marathon, and quickly decided it wasn’t for me. Later that day, my friend told me that she’d signed up for the Virtual London Marathon, and that I should do it with her. I told her to stop being ridiculous, but she kept on at me, and a week later I caved and signed up too.

I was talking to my sister (Laura), and she wanted to be supportive, but stated she could never run a marathon. The furthest she’d ever managed was 10k. The next day, she sent me a screenshot of her half marathon training programme, and told me she was on it. If I could run a marathon, she could run half of it with me. Our cousin (Zara) saw on social media that my sister was in training and wanted in on the action, so decided she’d run a half marathon too. They got talking, the Family Running Club was established, and another cousin (Kayla) came on board with a pledge of a third half marathon.

In the meantime, I had spoken to my wonderful Godmother and our beloved Aunty, Marie. I told her we were in training, but wanted to try and raise some money for a good cause, and asked her to choose a charity for us. She had recently retired as a Queen’s Nurse, and quickly suggested the Queen’s Nursing Institute. She once took me to a QNI Conference when I was a Student Nurse, knowing that my interest lay in Primary Care, so I knew all about the organisation, and was thrilled at her suggestion. Marie was a Naval Nurse in her younger years, and then spent the rest of her career working in the Community as a District Nurse. It’s no coincidence that I have followed in the footsteps of such an incredible woman!

So, with Aunty Marie as our honorary 5th member, the four of us are now in training, working towards the Virtual London Marathon which will take place on the 3rd October. Training is going well, we’re all in daily contact, albeit separated by a large geographic distance, and therefore heavily reliant on technology.

The JustGiving page is launched, and there’s no going back. We’ve already had a few injuries between us, and there’s a lot of chat about trainers, running vests, water intake and the best leggings. It’s giving us something other than our children to talk about, so that’s something. There’s some uncertainty about how we’ll run on the day. Ideally, we’d like to run it in one location, but depending on COVID, that might not be possible. But we’ll all be running on 3rd October. Maybe together, with the half marathons overlapping, maybe not. But we will all run, and we’ll do it knowing that we’re doing it to raise money for a wonderful charity doing fantastic work!

To sponsor the run, please click here.

Laura, Ona, Zara, Kayla

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