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Heather runs the London marathon for Girlguiding

After hours of training, I completed the London Marathon all in aid of Girlguiding.

I have been part of Girl Guiding since my neighbour took me to a Brownies bring a friend evening and I haven’t looked back. I have been given many opportunities to better myself, go on many adventures I wouldn’t of had the chance to do and meet new friends and learn about myself. Now as a leader I love giving girls a chance to explore their own beliefs, challenge themselves, learn new skills and have adventures.

I got into running during lockdown when I was redeployed from working in a physiotherapy outpatient clinic to a new challenging environment in the community managing a range of patients including ones with COVID 19. I found running helped me clear my head from the fears, the upset and sadness and the unknown. I completed a half marathon last year and I entered the ballot for the London marathon. I didn’t get a place and that day Girlguiding put a post on Facebook for the opportunity to run for them – what better way to raise some money for a charity I was already apart of and feel so passionate about.

Next was the fundraising. This was the bit I was most scared about but I honestly can’t thank everyone enough for their support. My final total was £2542. I am so grateful for you all for buying ducks, sponsoring and supporting me during this journey with me. My fundraising events were a duck race run by my guides, a quiz evening and a curry evening when my guides and leaders dressed in saris and put on an excellent evening for friends and family.

The training was a bit of a juggle - fitting in miles before weekly Guide meetings, going to Kernow22 in the middle of training, sorting out other social activities and trying to get enough sleep and rest as well as working full time in the NHS. Oh, and not forgetting the long runs at the weekend! Some weekends I would go out solo and it was very lonely, but when anyone offered to come with me I jumped on their offer. Thank you to St Breward leaders and Guides for their weekly motivational talks and for believing in me.

Finally came marathon day, 2nd of October 2022. I was very excited and just couldn’t wait to get going. I felt very ready and my goal was just to run the whole thing. Everyone was so friendly and I think I smiled the whole way round. The crowds when amazing, shouting words of encouragement and clapping you on. The Tower Bridge and the last mile of running down The Mall past Buckingham Palace were my favourite bits.

Thank you so much for supporting me in this challenge. If anyone is this thinking about doing it, I would 100% encourage you to sign up.

Heather Harper


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