During a period in my life last year where I needed help,  my family were met with several barriers. Most outlets didn't want to know, or numbers rang out. We were never told about CW Mind, which I discovered much later when looking for places to volunteer for. I thought about how I could help people that maybe didn't have the family or friends who fought on my behalf when I needed them most. Through my training to become a befriender at CW Mind I got to hear about the fantastic work they do on a limited budget. So when thinking of a charity to raise some money for it was an obvious choice!

Having huffed and puffed my way slowly round a 10K last August (helping my daughter raise money for the Childrens Hospital in Birmingham) I was inspired by a friend, Chris, who is doing the Marathon De Sable which is 5 marathons in 5 days in the Sahara Desert. That is beyond me obviously as I'd struggled on a balmy day in Warwickshire on that 10K! So at first I was aiming to do the Coventry Half Marathon but have since signed up to do the Manchester Full Marathon in April, to continue the fundraising for CW Mind. I'd heard that exercise is one of the best ways to help manage your mental health and whilst I appreciate it's not for everyone, it's certainly helped me no end!

It was relatively straightforward to enter. It's the training that takes a while to get used to. Starting with an intervals training plan called Couch to Half Marathon I just built from there. I was running 30 miles a week by the time the race came around. It is true what they say - you do get addicted. It must be the endorphins! 

The day itself came round very quickly once Christmas was out of the way. I was quite nervous on the start line but once you get going, seeing the streets lined with people cheering you and the others on it is a great day and the 1 hour 46 minutes flew. It's an event I'd recommend to anyone.  On day one, last September, after my first 1 mile run, I was feeling sick, out of shape and regretting being bold enough to say I would do the half marathon. I would never have thought I'd have been round the course at the pace I did, feeling elated and now looking forward to the Manchester event. There was a real sense of achievement, something I'd never felt before!

If I were to speak to someone thinking of fundraising I'd just say, Go For It. Whether it's a small amount you're looking to raise or a huge target it feels great to be a part of it all, and no matter how small the amount raised it all helps.