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Experienced runner Fiona runs the Virtual London Marathon for Farleigh Hospice

This weekend Fiona Pratt from Chelmsford will be taking on the Virtual London Marathon in aid of Farleigh Hospice. An experienced runner, this is Fiona’s fourth London Marathon for Farleigh Hospice, and this is her story.

“I originally signed up for the April 2020 London Marathon, however due to the pandemic the event was cancelled. I had already completed my training so I decided to still take on the challenge and run the 26.2 miles, and I raised £1,300.

My place on the marathon has now been transferred to another year, but I still wanted to support the hospice and so I will now be running the virtual marathon on the 4th October. To make the weekend even more challenging, and to encourage more people to donate, I am also running the ultra-marathon on Saturday 3rd October. The saltmarsh ultra-marathon from Burnham-on-Crouch to Maldon has been cancelled but I still plan to run the 38 miles along the seawall.

When you run for Farleigh Hospice, you feel like you are being looked after. Before the pandemic, they would organise a pasta party, training sessions, and they would organise a coach so we could all travel up together. On the day, staff and volunteers from the hospice would line the route, cheering us on.

I am also part of Farleigh’s Facebook Marathon group. It offers tips on clothing, running shoes, nutritional information, fundraising ideas, and they have continued to organise social distant training runs. We also support each other, and a lot of people become good friends. Farleigh invest in their teams, you are well supported every step of the way, and it’s a great way to take on your first marathon.

There are so many different ways to raise your sponsorship money. I have set up a JustGiving page, collection tins in local shops, taken part in bag packing at M&S, use Amazon smile, organised a barn dance, afternoon teas, quiz nights, to a weekly beagle meet up, where owners and their dogs meet up on my farm and make a donation to Farleigh. Over the years I have raised nearly £20,000 for the hospice.

I support Farleigh Hospice because they cared for my Dad, who had terminal cancer. He was supported by a Farleigh nurse at home and then he was moved into the hospice. The hospice is more than just a building, it offers day services, bereavement support, and care for patients and their families. Farleigh Hospice is such a happy place and a nice place to be during a horrible time.