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Marathon message from Rebekah

So The Virgin London Marathon is less than 6 weeks away now and I am one of the lucky (or crazy) people taking part! The first question everyone asks when you tell them you're running is Why? well Why not?!

I must admit, since I won my place in September, I've been cursing myself! I can't promise I'm going to finish in under 5 hours, run the whole way or even enjoy the experience but I'm doing it for the couch potatoes, those of us who get our exercise on the dancefloor on a Saturday night! I'm not a runner I thought this would be (a) fun, (b) a great way to get in shape and (c) a fantastic opportunity to raise some cash for a local cause.

Through Virgin Unite's Changing the Course campaign, I have been partnered with BYHP (Banbury Young Homeless Project), a charity supporting young people aged 16-25 with housing need in Oxfordshire, this is fantastic news for me as Banbury is the place I call home and I have previously done some voluntary work with the charity. Here is a little information from BYHP on what they do:

BYHP exists to support and assist young people in finding and maintaining a safe home from which they may be assisted to determine their own opportunities in life". Over the past 17 years, BYHP has been working with young people aged 16-25 who are homeless, inappropriately housed or at risk of becoming homeless in Oxfordshire. In the past 12 months, over 400 young people have benefited from the work of the charity. Most of them have been made homeless through no fault of their own, fleeing violence, abuse or eviction. It is a sad fact that there has been year on year rise in the number of Young People seeking help.

BYHP offer a range of services through one to one advice and information, outreach work in schools and youth centres, family mediation, education and training opportunities as well as helping find accommodation. Other work includes finding longer term accommodation, support for particularly vulnerable young people such as those with mental and physical disabilities, along with the prevention of homelessness. You can find out more about BYHP here

There have been numerous occasions where I have thought about giving up and it is for nothing but the above that I keep on running! The training has been tough but I was lucky enough to do some running whilst in the Atlas Mountains visiting one of our properties and the views were breathtaking though that may have been the altitude!? I also managed to complete the Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon on Sunday 6th March (I've enclosed photos for your enjoyment) and it really put a spring back in my step! I managed to go 11 miles before stopping for a walk (I know, I know - you're supposed to run but, seriously, have you ever tried it?!) big thanks to Debs at Virgin Unite for her constant support and running alongside me all the way through!! This is the longest distance I have ever managed without stopping for a breather so, needless to say, I was really happy with the achievement! The medal at the end might have brought on a smile as well.

After a day's rest yesterday (my knee caps felt like they might snap off) I will be heading out for a run tonight in preparation for a 16 mile episode this weekend. One great thing about the long runs is that, living in London, I can run along the river and there are plenty of sights to take in on the way. That said, after 45 minutes of running in my own company I do go a little crazy and start singing to keep myself entertained. I think I need someone on a scooter pushing me along with a wooden spoon like in Run Fat Boy Run any volunteers?

Whilst the training doesn't float my boat, the fundraising and sponsorship really gets me going and I'm very excited about a couple of events we've got coming up particularly the treadmill challenge on Wednesday 16th March that our lovely colleagues have agreed to compete in! They've agreed to race and see who can run the furthest in 10 minutes! It's going to be a crazy 10 minutes and I for one cannot wait to see someone else get up on a treadmill and sweat- watch this space for news and photos!

Rebekah

To support Rebekah in her Marathon crusade please click here