“I’m finally doing it ... something I’ve always dreamed of doing but never thought would be possible.”
That’s how Claire Fradley describes taking on the London Marathon this April.
Mother-of-two Claire suffered post-natal depression with both of her sons and running is something that has helper her.
So when the Heads Together Campaign offered her a spot in their team for the marathon she jumped at the chance, now hoping to raise at least £2,000 to help others suffering from mental illness.
Heads Together is a mental health campaign led by The Royal Foundation in partnership with eight charities, including Best Beginnings.
“When I saw that the main charities for London in 2017 was a group called Heads Together, all mental health charities, I thought ‘right, now or never, let’s do this and raise money for a small charity that really needs my help’,” said the 37-year-old from Lime Walk, Acton.
“Its aim is to give every child a good start in life by supporting parents through the tough stages, right from conception to when the child is three years old.
“One of the main things it does is support mothers with post-natal depression which many mums suffer – most often in silence.
“I was unfortunate enough to suffer with this after having both of my lovely boys. But I was lucky because I had lots of support from my wonderful family and friends.
“Not everyone is so lucky, and with charities like Best Beginnings and their baby buddy app, they can have some support to get through the tough times.
“I still struggle with my mental health, but running has been the best therapy. So it feels fitting to run London while raising awareness and money for this awesome charity.”
At a training event with the foundation last weekend, Claire got to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge along with Prince Harry.
Former athletes Paula Radcliffe and Iwan Thomas were also there to give out some top tips.
“I think she was more excited about meeting Paula as she thinks a lot of her,” said Claire’s proud mum, Lesley Hood.
As part of the fundraising efforts, Lesley is holding a coffee and cake day and a raffle at her house at 39 Lime Walk, Acton, on March 2 from 10am until 4pm.
Claire is training hard to ensure she reaches her goal.
Never the ‘sporty type’ Claire said that even though she loved sport, less than three years ago she could not even run to the end of the road without stopping.
Now, as a keen member of Sudbury Joggers, she has completed three half marathons and an 18-mile trial run and is excited about her biggest challenge yet.
It does not stop there, though, as she will be taking part in the ultra-marathon Race to the Stones in July, running 100km in two days with her ‘running buddy’ Michelle Holland.
Claire has just passed the halfway mark towards her £2,000 target.
l To donate and to read more about her story visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ClaireFradley.