Chris will join 40,000 runners on the start line in Greenwich Park on April 23 as she takes on one of the world’s most famous races and aims to raise more than £1,800 for Sightsavers.
She’s embarking on the challenge to mark her 50th birthday and to celebrate her good health. “As I’d reached the frankly unbelievable age of 50, I thought it was about time I took on something like a marathon to celebrate my good luck in keeping healthy,” she says. “The London Marathon is the iconic one for me. And I thought it may as well be a useful 26-mile sweat!”
So why did Chris choose to support Sightsavers? She explains that one day she was out walking through the hills in remote countryside when she noticed her eyes weren’t focusing properly and she couldn’t read her map. She realised she was getting to an age when she couldn’t rely on having perfect vision and, while her eye problem was easily fixed with a free NHS eye test and a pair of reading glasses, many others in developing countries aren’t so lucky.
“Imagine if you lose your sight in a country where there’s little help and your education or livelihood depends on your ability to see,” she explains. “I work for the ambulance service, and I first came across Sightsavers on a poster at my local eye hospital, where I take patients as part of my job. I’ve chosen to run for the charity because I know every penny will help to prevent unnecessary blindness.”
As part of her preparation, Chris has been tackling some gruelling training runs. She started in the autumn by running the Aviemore half marathon, as well as taking on a 20-mile run along a remote, hilly and boggy section of Scotland’s Southern Upland Way. “It was hard going!” she explains. “But I got there!” For her final long run before the marathon, she ran a 16-mile route along the Scottish coast from Edinburgh to Aberlady in East Lothian.
After all that training, how does she think she’ll fare next Sunday on the world-famous course? “I hope the support of other runners and the cheering crowds will distract me and keep me going. I haven’t been to London in years, so I’ll enjoy seeing the sights as I run, while getting a lot of satisfaction from knowing I’m helping others to keep seeing the sights of the world around them too.”
If you’d like to support Chris, you can visit her JustGiving page to make a donation. If you’re inspired by her efforts and are interested in taking on a challenge to raise money for Sightsavers, see our fundraising pages to find out how you can get involved.