A Richmond woman is to fulfill a life-time ambition by running her first-ever London Marathon in aid of Surrey Air Ambulance next month.
IT director Gillian Poor, 47, planned to take part in the 2006 event but was forced to pull out after spraining her ankle and has since suffered from torn cartilage in her knee.
But on April 22nd she will finally pound the streets of the capital in a bid to raise £2,600 for the charity which relies almost entirely on donations.
The Clevedon Road resident, affectionately known as Gillibean and more recently “Runner bean”, wants to raise £100 for every mile she runs.
If successful she will raise enough money to fund the cost of one potentially life-saving call-out by the helicopter.
She said: “After six years of injuries and not being able to get a place, I’Il finally be joining the 35,000 other runners in the marathon.
“I don’t know why but I started running in my 40s and just got hooked. At first I couldn’t even run for five minutes on a treadmill.
“Everything I am doing, my work, social life and eating is arranged around training but I’m really enjoying it. The training discipline is also helping me to be more effective at work too.
“At the moment the longest run I’ve done is 17 miles so I have an extra nine to do on the day but I think the crowds on the streets in London will make all the difference.”
The former Woking Grammar School pupil used to play hockey for the town’s hockey club and was also a member of Windle Valley Running Club.
Other challenges she has completed include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, hiking to Machu Picchu and the Edinburgh Moonwalk in 2008.
She added: “My father used to be a very keen cyclist and part of me wants to keep active because he and my mother had poor health and I want to make the most of what I’ve got.”
Gillian recently visited the Surrey Air Ambulance base at Dunsfold to meet the pilot, doctor and paramedic ahead of her run.
She has so far raised £1,901 of her target of £2,600 and can be sponsored at www.justgiving.com/Gillibean-marathon.
No charity places for the London Marathon are available but if you would like to run the London 10K for Surrey Air Ambulance please call Head of Fundraising Julie Jenkinson on 07843 336720.