It’s always been my goal to complete the London Marathon. This year I turned 21 and wanted something to mark the occasion and to give myself something to look back on and be proud of. I’ve never been a naturally gifted runner, so it is a massive challenge for me but that’s what makes it so rewarding.

Before training for the London Marathon the furthest distance I had ever run was 10km, so this is a massive challenge.  When I was in primary school I was put in the cross country team (definitely a mistake!). While I was making my way around the course as one of the last people, my teacher came running looking for me with a first aid bag thinking I had fallen over because I was taking so long compared to my friends. Hopefully, this won’t be the case on the big day!

Caitlin in her Aspire running top

At the start of my training, it was great; I was in a routine and the runs weren’t too long. However, as the distances increased, I began to get pains up my legs, especially when walking downstairs. This was due to not planning my runs properly and trying to do big distances too early on. Luckily that was very early on so after a week or two of rest, all was fine. Having this pain in my legs made me realise how important it was to plan my runs properly and to increase the distance gradually. I then began to follow a plan and was in a great routine but unfortunately I injured my calf and was advised by a doctor to have a minimum of two weeks off. This really threw me off focus and it was hard getting back into my running routine. However, now with the end goal upon us, there is little time for error so am back full force. With Covid-19 being so unpredictable it’s been hard on days when I’m not motivated to run and stay focussed as the thought is always there about whether the Marathon will actually go ahead.  I’m glad it hasn’t been changed again.

I have chosen to run for Aspire for many reasons. I've worked at the Aspire Leisure Centre as a swimming teacher for almost two years, so I see how great their work is.

I teach group classes but mainly teach one to one with disabled children. Most importantly for me, it is because the age bracket in which people are most affected by spinal cord injuries is the bracket that everyone close to me are in, so it’s very important to not only raise money for the charity, but also awareness to those around me.

Caitlin at the end of a previous run

My friends and family have been really supportive and generous in helping me raise money for Aspire. By sharing posts on social media, I've been able to raise a large number of donations. I also organised a fundraising event for which raffle prizes were donated to us by companies, including bungee jumps, hampers, family days out and many more. On the day my goal was to raise around £300 but we actually doubled that, raising £600. I’m going to continue sharing my page and hope to exceed that target as every donation really does make a difference.

Completing the London Marathon will mean I’ve achieved a lifelong goal. 

Even though I may not be the best runner, every year when it comes on telly I feel so inspired and want to do it. It feels very surreal that in less than a month that will be me running around London.

I’m so excited but the nerves are already kicking in. I have been watching videos online of people running other marathons and get nervous even watching them at the thought of thinking that will be me in less than a month. I can't wait for Marathon day and to have that feeling crossing the finish line. I know a number of people who have done marathons before, and they all say that feeling finishing it is indescribable. 

I want to say a massive thank you to everyone who has donated so far, every time I get a notification saying one has come through it really encourages me to keep going especially on the challenging days. 

Sponsor Caitlin

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