[ACNS] A Team Vicar from Cumbria in the north-west of England is set to raise thousands of pounds for a heart charity by running the London Marathon.
The Revd Michelle Woodcock, Team Vicar of Finsthwaite, Haverthwaite and Staveley-in-Cartmel in the Cartmel Peninsula Team, part of the Diocese of Carlisle, will run the gruelling 26.2 mile course next month to benefit the British Heart Foundation (BHF), one of the leading charities in the fight against cardiovascular disease.
She is running the marathon in memory of her father, Geoff, who died on her birthday 19 years ago following a massive heart attack.
“Even after all this time we still miss him every day,” she said, “so I wanted to do something which was positive and in his memory.
“I’m a regular listener to the Chris Evans BBC Radio Two breakfast show and last year he talked about the fact that he’d done the London Marathon. I figured if he could do it then so could I!
“I have always loved running. It’s my way of relaxing and being able to have some thinking time and time with God. Believe me I’ve had plenty of opportunity for that during my training which is going really well.”
Michelle is currently fitting a structured training programme around her parish ministry. And after confirmation that she had been selected to take part in the London Marathon, the BHF paired her up with an independent training specialist to help build up her endurance levels.
“I’ve been building up in endurance in terms of the amount of time I have to run. I’ve recently been running for 165 minutes which means that covers about 16 miles. I’m running five days a week but, up to now, I’m still enjoying it.”
The 41-year-old mother of two has previously completed the Great North Run half marathon in 2012, raising £3,000 for the BHF.
“Taking part in the Great North Run was overwhelming. I can remember watching a performance from the Red Arrows display team – which my dad used to love – as I was running the course.
“One of the runners went past me as they drew their trademark heart in the sky and said ‘That’s for your dad’. I had to stop crying before I could start running the course again.”
Michelle says she has had huge support from her parishioners as well as the Two Valleys congregation where her husband Michael is Priest-in-Charge.
To date she has received sponsorship of more than £1,000 but has to raise a minimum of £2,000 in order to be eligible to run for the charity in the marathon.