It's a beautiful day in the capital, and our amazing #TeamPurple runners are getting ready to take on the Virgin Money London Marathon in aid of MS-UK.
They will be joining so many other dedicated charity supporters this morning, and at last count the event had raised collectively over £20,000,000 for charities!
So, why have our runners decided to get involved? Vic, from Essex, remembers watching her Dad run when she was a child. Now she's running in his footsteps, as he no longer can. Sue and Ellie-Rose are a mother and daughter team taking on the mighty 26.2 miles together. The Boland family are all in it together and have flown over from the USA to run today. So many reasons, but each one has been touched in some way by multiple sclerosis (MS).
All week we have been at the Expo event, meeting our runners and wishing them lots of luck.
Have a look at the messages of support, positivity and determination that they wrote on the MS-UK #TeamPurple runners wall in our Facebook album today!
For everyone running on 22 April 2018, whoever you're running for, good luck.
You can follow MS-UK on Twitter to see marathon day live updates!
My name is Rosie and I am in my second year of university, I am studying Politics at Leeds. I grew up in a very active family where Mum and Dad encouraged us to play team sports at school, took us on regular skiing holidays and liked us to push ourselves. Although not as athletically blessed as my brothers, I still took part and enjoyed every moment.
Upon arriving at university, hours spent doing physical activity dramatically dropped and by the end of my first year I knew I needed a challenge to get me going again. The Virgin Money London Marathon had always been on my agenda having watched my Mum train and run both London and New York for MS as a child and then more recently witnessed my older brother complete it. My Mum ran for multiple sclerosis for her brother who has lived with the disease for almost two decades…hence why MS-UK seemed an obvious choice for me! So one day as procrastination from some university work, I entered the ballot and applied to a couple of charities that were close to my heart, not really thinking anything would come of it. A couple of weeks later I received a call from Jenny who offered me a place for MS-UK, and I accepted it…and that is how I am here lining up to run the London Marathon!
Upon returning to university, I started my training plan…let me tell you nothing sorts out a hangover like a 5mile run in the cold! All was going well until the end of October when I started to get this searing pain in my foot every time I put it down, having ignored it for a while my friends dragged me to A&E and I heard every runners worse nightmare…you have a stress fracture. So I dutifully spent the next 7 weeks in a moonboot, doing very little and followed the doctor’s advice to the T as I returned to running. I am now well back on track, although I have to take it a little steadier than I would like, I have completed a half marathon in 2 and a half hours. I have three more long runs till the big day and the excitement is building with each week!
Finally, fundraising is going well! I have had some very generous donations from friends and family. My first sponsorship push was to write to all my Mum and Dad's suppliers and ask for donations, and golly were they charitable! Its been a busy couple of months juggling training, fundraising, university, eventing, working and maintaining some sort of social life but I wouldn’t have life any other way!
Thank you to everyone who has supported me and hopefully see you the other side of the finish line!
As my first long distance running event (or running event in general in fact)…I decided that I wanted to challenge myself and run the London Marathon 2018! Fully aware that this is going to be a great personal achievement, I figured to make it even more worthwhile, I would raise money for charity at the same time, so people are not only supporting me with my running but supporting a great cause!
I have chosen MS-UK as the charity which I am raising money for, for the support which they provide to those suffering with multiple sclerosis. My mum, who is also my best friend, suffers from MS and even though she never complains and shows unbelievable strength and fights her illness; I know how it can affect individuals, and it means a lot to my mum that I am doing this with her in my heart and mind, along with others in her position, as my main motivation.
In order to raise the £2,000 I am receiving great support from my friends, family and work colleagues via my ‘JustGiving’ page. I am putting on some fundraising events such as pub quiz in local village pubs, raffles with prizes which have been generously donated including tickets to Ipswich Town Football Club home match and Woburn Safari Park! I am also putting on a fashion show at a nearby M&Co. store (Diss, Norfolk)!
Although I have regularly attended the gym for a long time, I am new to long distance running outside until about November 2017. I have been following a 16 week marathon training programme ‘Beginner to Winner’ and I am very much on track with it all; I have also been attending Spin, Yoga and Pilates classes to help with my training. I am completing Colchester Half Marathon in March which fits in perfectly with my training schedule and again is all in aid of MS-UK!
Now the count down to the big day, and I have ascertained that it will be here in no time at all!
Jasmine Mulley, 24, Suffolk
Well, it’s that time of year again when runners across the country (indeed, the world!) await that thump on the doormat for the Virgin Money London Marathon magazine to find out if they have got a ballot place or not.
More than 300,000 people have entered the ballot, and it is a completely random draw, so don’t feel too disheartened if you didn’t get a place!
If you missed out, we still have Gold Bond places available, so apply on our website today!
To give you an idea of what it is like running for #TeamPurple, check out our short film and meet some of our inspiring marathon runners who all took on the capital in April 2017 in aid of MS-UK!
If you were successful in the ballot, congratulations! You can still join #TeamPurple and run for MS-UK as an own place runner – just email me or give me a call on 01206 226500 to find out more.
Jenny Poulter, Events Fundraiser
Hi everyone, I’m Sue Foley from Colchester (aka Purplepants). On Sunday 09 July, I’ll be returning to London to run in the British 10k, three years after running my first 10k event for MS-UK and my first ever event since starting my running journey in May 2014.
I still find it amusing that I donned some running shoes back then and even more surprising that I’m still pounding the pavements now. At 50 years young, I was a late starter! I was inspired to run having watched the Virgin Money London Marathon in April 2013 from Tower Bridge. It simply gripped me so much that I felt the need to be doing something positive and challenge myself. My best friend and partner had passed away suddenly the year before so I was feeling somewhat lost in grief.
My childhood neighbour and friend Keith had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in March 2012, so I decided I’d like to fundraise for MS-UK, the charity that had helped him during the early days of his diagnosis. I contacted MS-UK to apply for one of their Gold Bond places at the Virgin Money London Marathon. What on earth was I thinking? I hadn’t even run 100 metres, let alone 26.2 miles! When I received the phone call to say I’d been offered a place, I burst into tears. It was an honour to be able to represent the charity. Fortunately, I had a whole year to fundraise and prepare myself mentally and physically for a running adventure.
My first port of call was to attend parkrun, a free, weekly 5k timed run which takes place all over the Country. I continued with parkrun alongside bootcamp and gym classes. Early in July 2014, Sam who worked at MS-UK phoned to ask if I’d like to get some experience in taking part in the British 10k. Another runner had suffered an injury, so Sam asked if I’d like to step in to replace them. It was short notice, yet I knew this would be a valuable exercise. I felt in good shape, though in reality I had only been running up to a 5k distance. I was up for the challenge all the same, realising I’d have to be sensible with my pacing.
With a week until the race, I set up an online JustGiving page which I shared via my social media and I was encouraged to see donations soon coming through. I had my name put on my running vest, so all that was left was for me to get to the start.
Race day arrived with an early alarm call. I remember feeling slightly anxious and excited. On arrival in London I remember heading across one of the bridges and noticing several people in running kit. It was my natural instinct to follow, assuming they’d all know where to go. I spoke to one runner just for reassurance that I was going the right way for the bag drop. Once I’d put my belongings in the bag drop, I proceeded to the start area. I remember vividly hearing the Chariots of Fire music sounding out as we walked through Admiralty Arch at Trafalgar Square. My eyes welled up, it was emotional to be amongst hundreds of runners, many of whom were wearing their respective charity’s vests.
The atmosphere leading towards the start line was special as I stood side by side so many strangers, yet friends also, in a sense that we were united in representing our chosen causes. Once I crossed the line, I smiled trying to take in all the sights. Music was playing along the course and spectators cheered the runners enthusiastically. I was given a boost hearing people call out my name. Running over Westminster Bridge felt surreal. I paused for a moment to capture a photo on my phone. Let’s face it, it’s not every day you get to run in the Capital City.
Approaching the finish, I remember coming along Whitehall and spotting the same runner I’d asked directions from at the start. We crossed the line together high fiving one another in victory.
I’m excited to be putting on my purple MS-UK vest (and purple everything else!) and joining the other fabulous MS-UK fundraisers running at the British 10k. My philosophy is ‘finish lines, not finish times’, having said that, I’d like to shave off 7 minutes of my 2014 time if possible. I’m extremely proud that through my running efforts I’ve raised over £5,000 for MS-UK over the past few years and helped to raise awareness of the charity’s work in my locality. I’ve also volunteered and been known to step into the mascot Myles’ shoes on occasions. Fundraising, volunteering and taking part in events for MS-UK has been fulfilling, fun and certainly helped given me focus and purpose. I hope I may inspire others to do the same.
This month we’ve got a special fundraiser of the month blog post!
We’d like to honour everyone that has run the Virgin Money London Marathon for us in 2017, you’re all stars and you’ve all earned the title of fundraisers of the month!
This year’s Virgin Money London Marathon team has had some really great fundraising moments, here’s a few that the team would like to share!
‘The 3 Bolands (father and two daughters) combined efforts to reach their £6,000 goal. Our sponsors were therefore all the more willing to give to MS-UK – our goal was exceeded!’ – Giles Boland
‘On the 01 May we did a 5k “Champagne Run” with 30 runners and raised £300 , each runner received a medal , a glass of fizz and cake , it became a truly inspirational run! ’ – Sue Bennett
‘Fran and I were thrilled to make a large sum when Fran organised a Fish & Chips quiz night! We have also been in awe of the many kind donations we have received through collections in town or through the Virgin Money Giving website. Friends, family and to all the kind people…thank you!’ – Chris and Fran Setterfield
‘We raised £4,700 by holding a Horse Race night, which was great fun for all the family. We also held a Thai buffet and wine ladies evening. Everyones generosity was overwhelming.’ – Denise and Brian Matthews
‘I have done several quiz nights in the past for Dumbarton Football Club’s Supporters Trust, so this was an excellent method of raising money for MS-UK ahead of the London Marathon. I was delighted with the turnout of 17 teams, and the eventual sum of £844 which was raised from the night. The fact that Dumbarton won 4-0 at the stadium that day helped as well!’ – Andrew Galloway
‘On Sunday 09 April 2017, we organised a fundraising day at Smudge Hair Salon. We had professional hair stylists and qualified nail beauticians in for the day and offered blow dries and gel nails. We arranged a raffle with prizes such as tickets to Loose Women, a bungee jump and afternoon tea at Harrods. We also had a cake sale and sold cakes at £2 a cake. We made £1,500.50 from selling raffle tickets and the day itself! It was such a success!’ – Victoria Brady
‘The aim of the JAM for MS-UK series of music events was to celebrate Jones & Mar’s friendship and raise awareness of MS amongst younger people. I have toppled my target – putting the fun into fundraising!’ – Marie Martin
‘I raised £185 from a work bake sale and used social media as an opportunity to also raise awareness of MS with facts in the 10 days leading to VLM.’ – Loraine Solanilla
‘Some mates helped organise a charity pub quiz. There were prizes for the winners and we raffled things that were donated too. Was a really fun night raising over £400!’ – James Arnall
And finally we have a few top fundraising tips from Sue Foley for reaching her marathon target:
‘#1 Get social on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
#2 Share your passion for your cause
#3 Update your online page regularly/write a blog and keep sharing success
#4 Recruit friends to assist at an event, then repay the favour in giving your time
#5 Bag packing in a supermarket for a few hours was fun and rewarding
#6 Always take time to thank your donors and sponsors
#7 Wear your MS-UK vest proudly. The Marathon IS tough but the training is TOUGHER.
#8 Respect the distance
#9 Finish lines not finish times
#10 I had a 26.2 mile party with my purple balloon, raising just over £2200’
Congratulations to all of the MS-UK team who have put so much effort into their fundraising! We’ve said it before but we’ll say it again – you’re all stars!
Inspired to run in 2018? Apply for a MS-UK place now!
Hi everyone, Next week we will be sending out our fundraising e-newsletter, and we wanted to let you know you can subscribe today just by visiting our website. Packed full of events news, top tips and fundraising ideas and inspiration, we send out this e-newsletter once a month. Subscribe today and stay up to date with all of our team news! Best wishes, Nick Nicholas Adams, Fundraising Assistant
Next week we will be sending out our fundraising e-newsletter, and we wanted to let you know you can subscribe today just by visiting our website.
Packed full of events news, top tips and fundraising ideas and inspiration, we send out this e-newsletter once a month.
Nicholas Adams, Fundraising Assistant
Tristan Watson was one of our brave runners who took on the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon, here he tells his story of the day...
Months and months of hard work, several new pairs of running shoes, kilos of pasta and a small fortune spent at my local physio, the marathon is done and dusted.
It's been three weeks now since I ran, and I'm still trying to take it all in and realise what we have all achieved. I say we because between us, we've raised over £3500 for MS-UK, and that's the real reason why I was putting myself through all of this. I've been truly blown away by the generosity of everyone, and I know that the charity are also extremely grateful for every penny raised. The Virgin Money London Marathon is MS-UK's biggest annual fundraising event, where they look to raise around £250,000.
I cannot thank you all enough!!
The day itself was incredible. It's one of the few moments in your life where you can feel like a famous sports-star, with 1 million people lining the route to cheer you on. People calling out your name and willing you to push that little bit harder. It's an amazing feeling, at least it is in your mind. For your body, a marathon is really as hard as you'd imagine - 26.2 miles is actually quite a long way...
The day started well. Some porridge in my hotel room before I skipped off to catch the train to the start. I bumped in to some other runners on the way and got chatting (a further reminder about how kind, generous and friendly the running community is). When we reached Greenwich common, I met up with the rest of the MS-UK team and had the obligatory pre-race photo, before queuing (again, and again, and again) for the toilet.
The course was busy. Much busier than I'd bargained for, and it meant finding my stride difficult. Early on I knew that my 4hr time target was out the window, but I didn't care. I quickly realised that the Virgin Money London Marathon is about much more than running a quick time (I'll save that for one of my 2018 marathons,watch this space). It's more of a carnival for runners. A huge mass gathering of like-minded individuals who just want to have a good time and raise some money for charity. I think that's much better than trying to run quickly.
I had plenty of support out on the route, with my Uncle & cousins at Cutty Sark, another cousin and friend at Canada Water, and Annabel and my Mum & Sister at Tower Bridge. I glided through the first half of the race in just over two hours and felt on top of the world! My cheering squads reassembled in to new locations for the second half of the race, as well as getting to see my charity cheering spots for the first time in Canary Wharf. What a boost that was for me, especially as cramp had just start to set in!!
Cramp - something I've never ever suffered with before, so why would it choose to rear its ugly head now at mile 17 of a marathon *unhappy face*. There's no point in sugar-coating it. It was bloody awful, and made the final 90 minutes of the race very very hard. But as I've already said, the crowd support surpasses every negative thought, feeling and emotion, and I pushed through! We got back in to the city, and in the distance I could see Big Ben. It was nearly time to knuckle down and smash out the final miles.
At this point I knew that whatever happened, I WOULD be finishing this journey. It was an overwhelming feeling. The crowds kept building, and getting louder and louder with each and every step I took.
Finally, the moment that surely every runner dreams of, turning the corner in front of Buckingham Palace and seeing The Mall open out in front of you... need I say any more! A rush of adrenaline, fist pumping, shouting out loud to yourself. It's over, it's done!
Getting through my first marathon was hard, but the whole thing was made just that little but easier with the help of a few people!
Inspired to run the Virgin Money London Marathon? Watch the video of why some of our runners did in 2017! For more details on applying for MS-UK Gold Bond places please visit our Virgin Money London Marathon page.
In April, over 100 people took part in the Virgin Money London Marathon for team MS-UK, raising money to help us continue our work supporting people affected by multiple sclerosis.
I would have loved to share all of their stories, but the film may have been a bit too long! So, instead I hope you’ll enjoy this short video of runner stories.
If you missed out on entering the 2018 ballot last week, don’t forget you can apply for one of our Gold Bond places by visiting our website.
Jill Purcell, Fundraising Manager
Kyla Whitefoot is a relative newcomer to running. After Kyla had seen the Virgin Money London Marathon on television and been fascinated by the strength it takes to run the distance, she set out on her own course. Helped by her son, Kyla has worked hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle with the ultimate goal of running the London Marathon!
‘I have always wanted to be able to run (even to the point where I regularly had dreams about being able to run, but just wouldn’t be able to), but had been very overweight, even obese, since childhood. I had watched the Virgin Money London Marathon coverage on the television many, many times and been fascinated by what it takes for people to participate, hearing their stories when they were interviewed, and wanting to feel the way the runners obviously did.’ In October of 2015 Kyla’s son, Dan had shown an increasing interest in health and fitness. As a result of this, he drew up a fitness plan for Kyla and promised to go to the gym with her and to eat healthily as well.
Kyla lost a total of six stone preparing for the marathon! What ensued was a steady weight loss of just over 2 pounds per week on average and a loss of over 6 stone in total by summer 2016!
‘I gained control of my overeating, my weight and have maintained a healthy lifestyle since then for the first time in my life. I’m a great believer that things like this only happen when you’re in the ‘right place and time’ in your life!’
‘In the meantime, Dan and I had watched the 2016 marathon coverage and talked about how amazing the event was, and I had a ‘lightbulb moment’ as to what my ultimate goal could be.’ Following this, Kyla applied for one of MS-UK’s Virgin Money London Marathon gold bond places, pledging to raise £2,000 for a cause that is close to her heart. Kyla’s mum was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis before she was born and struggled with the disease and resulting symptoms for 30 years. ‘My Mum suffered horrendously during the last few years of her life. My amazing Dad shouldered all of her care when I was growing up so I could 'be a normal kid' as much as possible and neither he nor Mum ever put any responsibility onto me during her illness.’
‘Raising money for MS-UK is my chance to finally give something back in Mum’s honour.’
‘I know that if she had received support such as that is now offered by MS-UK it would have made such a difference to her day-to-day life, not only in that she wouldn’t have felt as if she had to hide away the need to talk to someone, but also the ease of getting in touch with others in her situation. It breaks my heart that she probably felt as if no one really understood what she was going through.
’ Supported by friends, family and work colleagues, Kyla has had an extraordinary response in her goal to reach her £2,000 target. Her dad and friend Hilary have been particularly supportive with sponsorship, every time Kyla has taken part in a race, being great motivational forces!
The company Kyla works for, The Litmus Partnership, have also been very supportive, granting permission to add her fundraising link to her email signature. Her work colleagues have donated the proceeds from their annual ‘swear tally’ fundraiser to the fund.
‘It was really difficult not to entertain thoughts of ever-so-temporarily sabotaging the office equipment to annoy everyone, to the point that they let off a stream of obscenities in frustration!’ says Kyla.
Everyone at MS-UK is wishing Kyla every success in the Virgin Money London Marathon; look out for her on the television!
‘I can’t wait for April now…when I’m not feeling a little terrified, that is. Bring it on! #teampurple’