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On 23 April just under 50 supporters from across the UK will came together as #TEAMKIDNEY to run the Virgin Money London Marathon – the largest fundraising event in the world. They were among the 35,000 runners taking on the gruelling 26.2 mile route past some of the capital’s most iconic landmarks. We spoke to one of our amazing fundraisers ahead of the day to discover the inspiration behind her marathon efforts.

Phillipa Norton’s father had kidney failure when he was in his late 20s. Despite a successful transplant further complications meant he died when Phillipa was just six months old. She is running this year’s marathon in his memory.

Philippa Norton, London Marthon runner and fundraiser

Philippa Norton, London Marthon runner and fundraiser

What made you choose to run for Kidney Research UK?
I chose Kidney Research UK as the charity I wanted to run for in the London Marathon as my dad would never have been able to have his kidney transplant without the vital work they do, and without that, I would not be here today. Being a ‘post-transplant’ baby it’s only right that I give something back. I’ve wanted to run the London Marathon for a few years now and to do it in memory of my dad, whilst raising money for a charity that’s directly helped my family is even more satisfying.

What do your family and friends think of you running the marathon?
My family and friends probably thought I was a bit mad to sign up for a marathon with only 2 and ½ months to train but they have been overwhelmingly supportive since I got my place (although I imagine they’re pretty bored of me talking about what new running top I’ve bought or where to buy the best energy gel)! I have always enjoyed sport and exercise however, I’m anything but a long distance runner so needed all the support I could get and they have certainly not disappointed. My mum and stepdad are flying back from France to watch me run. I’ve got loved ones dotted all along the route to keep me from hitting that dreaded ‘wall’!

What did you do to raise such a fantastic amount? (Over £3,100 to date)
The fundraising was daunting to begin with because I’ve done charity events in the past and I don’t like to keep asking the same people to donate. This is by far the biggest challenge I have done (and probably will ever do!) so I think people were willing to dig deep, especially because they knew what this charity means to me and my family. I shared my fundraising page with the people I work with and the response was incredible – even donations from across the globe which was pretty impressive considering I’ve never even met some of these people! I think my story resonated with a few people and in particular with one member of my team who sent me an article about his aunt. What an incredible lady and one who I will definitely be thinking about on the day!

I also utilised social media the best I could, sharing each training run on Facebook along with my JustGiving link and posting articles that I’d read from the Kidney Research UK website. My Instagram has never seen so many sweaty post-run selfies!

What would you say to anyone thinking of doing the marathon next year?
I have a few pieces of advice – the first being not to let the training get you down…sometimes just the thought of a 10 mile training run on a rainy Sunday morning is enough to make you want to quit, but when you reach those miles that you’ve been aiming for it is so worth it, trust me! Having a training partner also helps for those long runs. I am lucky enough to have had two and I’m not sure I would have been half as motivated to get out running without them!  Also it’s so important to listen to your body and rest when you need to. With the little time I had to prepare I pushed my body a bit too much and unfortunately picked up a running injury with only four weeks to heal.  Regular physio, sports massage, cycling and swimming got me back into my trainers, but I now know when my knees need a rest!

Every person I’ve spoken to that’s done the London Marathon has told me that the atmosphere on the day is incredible and the experience is one they’ll never forget. I can’t wait to be a part of it and wear my medal with pride, knowing my dad would be proud too.

Feeling inspired?
Fancy following in our runners’ footsteps next year? We’d love to receive your application for a Golden Bond place in the Virgin Marathon 2018 so why not register your details today.

If a marathon’s not your thing we’ve got many more events you can take part in including walks, cycling challenges, overseas treks and parachute jumps. Take a look at our events.

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