Taking on the Virtual London Marathon

The support of local people and businesses is extremely important to us and we are always thankful and humbled by people who go above and beyond to raise money for our charity. With the Virtual Virgin Money London Marathon coming up in October, we are excited to have a fantastic team of people dedicated to running their own course to fundraise to help local children and young people to finally feel hopeful of a better future. Two of those are friends Donna and Shauni. We spoke to them about their upcoming challenge and motivation for supporting The Benjamin Foundation.

Donna says: “I first heard about The Benjamin Foundation when a good friend of mine was raising money by participating at one of their increasingly popular sleep-outs in Norwich. I read about the work they did and connected to the charity through LinkedIn, I knew at some point I’d raise money for them.

Ending homelessness is a cause and mission I feel passionate about – everyone deserves and needs a home. As a mother of two sons in their 20s, youth homelessness is even closer to my heart. I am so proud to be supporting The Benjamin Foundation and grateful for all the work they do to not only give homeless youths a home, but the support they need to get their lives on track.”

Donna is looking forward to the upcoming challenge of the Virtual Virgin Money London Marathon:

“I’ve always ran and exercised. I was a personal trainer and gym owner for over 15 years, however I had never ran more than 10k. I’m a natural sprinter/short-distance runner and my default seems to be set at 1k. I held two running clubs. One was a zero to 5k for ladies who had always told themselves that they couldn’t run (they all did it) – the other was a 10k challenge that followed the 5k to prove that not only could they run, but they could push themselves way past their expectations. I instilled in them the mantra “I can and I will – just watch me!”

I always felt that I would run a marathon – I just needed that huge motivator I would need to push me way out of my comfort zone. In January this year, with many old injuries, I couldn’t run 1k without stopping about four times in pain. Seven weeks on in my training, I know I can do this and I’m really excited to be taking part in the Virtual London Marathon. Being able to run in the country and chose my own route is perfect for me!”

Donna set up her fundraising page quickly and easily and is already making great progress towards her target:

“I’ve set my fundraising goal at £500, but I’d really like to aim for £1,000. I just want to support The Benjamin Foundation’s work as much as I possibly can.

I’m using the GivePenny app to raise money and to post my training progress. There are many fun ways in which to donate or pledge money, including adding songs to my running playlist that I will run to during training and on the big day. I’m also posting regular updates of my progress on my social media pages. People have been so generous and supportive already and when I get a message from GivePenny telling me that someone has donated, it gives me a huge lift when I’m struggling a little – so a big thank you to all who have donated so far!

Completing the Marathon and hitting my fundraising target will certainly be my happiest day of 2021 – it’s been tough year and this will have put a very positive spin on it.

Knowing that the money I raise is helping our local young people is a huge motivator for me and an incentive to raise as much as possible. I really do want to make a difference to our kids who need it most.

If you’re thinking about supporting The Benjamin Foundation, just take a look at their website, read about the amazing work they do and the stories of the young people they have helped and you’ll be thinking no more – you’ll be doing! There are so many ways that you can support them and raise funds for them.

I’m especially thrilled to be training and achieving my first marathon with ‘my daughter from another brother’, Shauni – She’s one of the kindest, sweetest people I know and when she decides to do something, she does it!”

Shauni too is excited and undaunted by the challenge ahead.

“I completed a half marathon five years ago, and always wanted to push to do a full marathon. When Donna asked me if I’d like to do it with her, I jumped at the chance. As a life coach and mentor of mine, she has helped me more than I can say – she’s helped change my mindset, instilling positivity and so much self-belief that I can achieve anything I want to. An added bonus is to be raising money to support The Benjamin Foundation – helping other young people is something I care passionately about.”

If you’d like to sponsor Donna and Shauni, visit their fundraising page here and help them to smash their target!

Perhaps Donna and Shauni have inspired you to put on your running shoes? Talk to us about available places in the Virtual Virgin Money London Marathon and other sporting challenges! Get in touch on [email protected] or telephone 01603 615670.

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