26 miles, 26 stories

By Lauren Palmer

This year LCF has 26 brave and crazy people running the marathon for us – one per mile! Sadly, a couple of weeks ago 2 of our runners had to pull out due to injury. Whilst I really feel for those runners – having trained in the dark and the cold for so many months only to have to pull out with 4 weeks to go would be heart breaking – it left us with 26 runners which is really quite poetic.

Two weeks ago we held a marathon meet up for our 26 runners to meet one another along with other members of LCF staff. Getting to finally meet the faces behind the fundraising pages was really fun and I used the opportunity to find out more about what inspired our runners to commit to the huge challenge. As with everything, everyone’s story was slightly different.

Some people had run for us last year. They enjoyed the personal challenge, the buzz of the big day and the impressive quantity of Haribo sweets at the LCF stall at the end of the marathon and decided that they wanted that again this year. Others are doing it as part of their bucket list - one particularly inspiring man is running for us at age 76 and asked that we hold a place for him once every 5 years! Some others had been thinking of taking on the challenge for many years and had finally taken the plunge and yet others were, “still not quite sure what made them sign up!”. 

The tips and advice we got from one another at the meet up were really useful but not nearly as useful as realising that the worries, pains and nerves that I feel about the 22nd of April are shared by us all. We now have a runners Whatsapp group in which we share nutrition advice, moan about our long, cold training runs and give each other the much-needed encouragement of someone who knows exactly how annoying it is to live with permanently aching legs. Being part of this small community is really helping me to get through these last few weeks and highlights the real value in a strong and cohesive one. LCF is all about communities and stories, just like this marathon is, and we have some great ones to tell. In fact this week we are sharing the stories of some particularly inspiring people and groups from around London – keep an eye out for them!

With less than 4 weeks to go there is still a lot of training and hard work to be done, but the end is definitely in sight and with the support of our other runners, I am feeling quietly positive about it all. 

Lauren has been documenting her journey to the London Marathon through regular blog posts. She is raising funds for The London Community Foundation, helping to build and stronger and more vibrant London for everyone. Check out Lauren’s fundraising efforts or donate today.