On Sunday 11 June Alan from Aylesbury will be taking part in the 2023 Bucks Radio Tour de Vale for the very first time. ...
On Sunday 23 April Caroline will join a team of 16 WheelPower runners on the start line of the London Marathon. This will be Caroline’s first Marathon and she is delighted to be running for local wheelchair sports charity WheelPower.
This is Caroline’s Marathon Story …
Caroline lives locally to WheelPower’s office at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, in nearby Princes Risborough, where she was born and bred. She is a financial controller for a bathroom accessory company in Thame, is engaged to Adam and has 2 teenage children.
She recalls her own experience of sport and activities growing up, “As a child I was a dancer, but I wasn’t so much into PE and running. I then had my own children in my 20s, was a single parent for a while and just didn’t have time for much else really. But as they’ve got older I wanted to do something different. I did the couch to 5k programme a couple of times, but I would get to the end of the 9 week programme and then stop. It was a bit pointless really, so on my 3rd go I decided to join a beginners course with my local running club and since that day in 2021 I haven’t really stopped running and I just kept going!”
“I’ve not been running that long, not even 2 years yet! I love being outside in the fresh air as I’m not really into the gym, and being in an air conditioned box. I now run with a local group called Move Walk Run which are a lady’s trail based running club based in the Chilterns. We often meet at Kimble, Whiteleaf, Bledlow, Coombe Hill and are so lucky to be able to run in the surrounding countryside. In the winter months we do a few more road runs and interval sessions, so it’s all quite varied which we all enjoy."
Getting a charity place
After being unsuccessful in the London Marathon public ballot a chance conversation with Hannah (a local sport massage therapist) introduced Caroline to WheelPower and the opportunity to run for a fantastic local charity. She got in touch with the team at Stoke Mandeville and she was soon signed up and ready to go!
“I turned 40 a month ago and I thought why not do loads of things this year to celebrate! I’m getting married in August and now I’m going to run a marathon! Hannah told me she had run the London Marathon for WheelPower a few years ago and how helpful the team were along the way. She had an injury and they gave her some gym time and rehab time which was so nice.”
“I had heard that charity places were hard to come by so when I dropped WheelPower an email I wasn’t sure of the response. But I was pleasantly surprised and a bit shocked when Jo (WheelPower Events) said ‘okay, welcome to the team!’ … and here we are!”
Training so far …
Once the place was confirmed Caroline spoke to the leader of the running club, Louise Wright, who kindly created a 16 week training plan, that would take her from January 2nd all the way to the London Marathon on April 23rd.
“Working full time and having 2 kids the plan had to work for me and around my commitments. I now do 2 runs in the week, and then Saturday is a longer one. I am an early starter so I can be up at 5.15am, out of the house at 6.25am and I’m still home having done 15 miles by 10 o’clock which works quite well! In December I started running from home to the run meet place to get some distance under my belt. The group run, plus the extra from home and back again, got me to 10 miles or so most weeks, so January was quite gentle! Then the mileage started ramping up in February.”
“I’ve put my full trust in the schedule and know that if I do what we said to do it will all go to plan, and touch wood it’s been going okay so far! I’ve ticked off all the runs to date and have become a bit of a bore of Strava, detailing every run! I’ve had a couple of little niggles but nothing that’s stopped me running.” “Until recently I’d only done a half marathon distance once in April last year and now I’ve done maybe 5 in the last 6 weeks which has been interesting!”
The Day of the Marathon
On Sunday 23 April over 40,000 runners will descend on the capital to take part in the world’s best marathon event. After training hard over the Winter its time to put on the WheelPower jersey and get to the start line on time. As it’s Caroline’s first marathon as a runner or spectator she doesn’t know what to expect but is looking forward to what the day will hold.
“I’m excited and nervous, but everyone says how electric the atmosphere is, and that during those tough last 5 miles the cheering of the crowd will help you to get to the finish!”
Caroline will be joined in London by her friends and family who will be trying to spot her en-route, and she hopes to also see some of her fellow WheelPower team members along the way too.
“I’m following some of the other WheelPower runners on Strava and we have a WhatsApp group too! It’s scary how fast they are running but we are wearing quite bright vests so hopefully I’ll spot some other runners during the race or maybe spot them afterwards.”
Caroline is taking on this very special challenge for charity and is grateful of all donations she has received so far. She is now up to £500 and hoping to raise as much money for WheelPower as possible.
“I’m discovering that it’s really quite a feat to run a marathon and I’m so lucky that I can. I can use my legs and run and some people can’t do that. If there’s something I can do that can help people who don’t always have the opportunities to participate in sports, and have the same feeling I get from running then that can only be a good thing.”
“It also feels right to raise money from a sporting event for a sporting charity. We all know there’s lots of big charities out there who get huge amounts of runners and places, but by running for a local charity like WheelPower your know that money you raise will make a massive difference to so many lives. Wish me luck and if you can, please do sponsor me.”
Final Words from Caroline …
“I’m really looking forward to it and only have a few more runs before the taper starts. I have a week off work in the Easter holidays to rest but I feel that I’m as prepped as I can be so fingers crossed it all goes well on the day. If I get to the start, I will get to the end! I’m quite strong willed and if I can run 21 miles around the hills of the Chilterns I can do the flat roads of London!”
“When I originally signed up for the London Marathon I set my sights on a time of 5 hours, but I’d be ecstatic if it started with a 4! I’m really looking forward to getting to the end, seeing my family, and showing them my medal. After that I might have a week off!”
“Due to my family commitments this type of event is not something I’ll be doing every year for the next 10 years. It’s enough for now and perhaps a once in a lifetime event for me, who knows. Saying that I’ve already signed up to do another marathon 4 weeks after London with Move Walk Run! I thought if I’ve done the training I might as well! There won’t be as much time pressure though, it’ll be a hilly trail route and a great summer event, not a race.”
“Going forward my routine of Monday, Wednesday, Saturday runs won’t change and it’s something I feel like I will just keep doing for as long as possible. Running with Move Walk Run is a big part of my life now and it’s everything to me. It gives me that mental head space but also gives me that chance to be outside and doing something I really enjoy, with the most fabulous group of women.”
Caroline is one of 16 London Marathon runners representing WheelPower in 2023. We are thankful to her for sharing her own fitness journey and we hope her story may inspire you to take on a charity challenge for WheelPower in the future. Whether it is a run, a walk, a push, a ride or even a skydive there are so many ways to achieve a dream with WheelPower whilst making a real difference to so many lives.
Why you should donate
"Donating to a charity like WheelPower will make a real difference. They are local to me and you can come down and see where the money is being used and see the benefits of the families from being able to use facilities that are accessible to all is fantastic. You don’t have to donate a lot, but every little bit you can give will top up my pot and make a difference. There's a lot of worthy causes out there but I do think that sport and that sense of community, giving people the opportunities to be active, whatever your level has always been important to me. To be part of a community of like-minded people and providing access to that for everybody is really important. Especially at the moment whilst there is a lot of pressure on families and cuts to a lot of facilities."Donate to WheelPower