From running with friends to running in the London Marathon Posted on 19 April 2017 by Claire in Wellbeing What will you be doing the weekend after Easter? Maybe you are visiting family, friends, chilling out, shopping or running a marathon. I will be taking on the challenge of completing the Virgin London Marathon (VLM). This will be my third marathon as I have completed the Brighton Marathon in 2015 and 2016. I entered the London Marathon Ballot but was unsuccessfully in gaining a place (but my friend did). I then entered the ballot through my running club but was unsuccessful again. As my friend had a place I really wanted to complete this challenge with her. I was then successful in gaining a charity place and I will be running for The City and East London Bereavement Charity (CELBS). CELBS is a registered charity that provides up to 12 sessions of free 1:1 bereavement counselling to individuals age 18 or over who live in the borough of Tower Hamlets or the relatives or friends of anyone who has died in any of the hospitals within the Barts Health NHS Trust.The money I raise will go directly to support those people who have been bereaved and who benefit from counselling and the other supports CELBS offer to people at this difficult times in their lives.If you would like to donate please visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ClaireGillespie02I’ve always been interested in long distance running since secondary school where I always volunteered to participate in the 1500 metres. I completed Race for Life a few times, then decided my next step was to complete a half marathon. Looking back on it now it wasn’t the best decision to jump from 10km to 21km. I think I have improved my fitness by running with friends and in a running group which was set up when we were training for my first Brighton marathon. The running group is called Selfie Sunday runners of Maidstone and we run at the speed of chat. We meet up on Sundays and run and enjoy each other’s company, take selfies and eat cake after the run!If you are looking to improve your fitness I would ask you to come and visit your local Parkrun. If you haven’t heard of Parkrun they organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs all over the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in. All you need to do is register and bring your barcode to an event. Turn up before 9am on a Saturday and you can run, jog or walk 5km. I have now completed 100 Parkruns and have volunteered a few times.Exercise is important in today’s society and we all have stressful jobs and spend too much time in front of screens. Running in a group or own you own allows you to distress and improve your mental health.I decided to start my training back in January and I planned to up the mileage by 2 miles each week so I started the first run by completing 4 miles and my last long run went up to 20 miles. It has been a struggle to complete long Sunday runs each week in various weather conditions but I’ve managed it over the 4 months either as part of a group, on my own or with my dad as he was training for the Brighton Marathon. All the hard work has been done now so I’m just resting up ready for the 23rd April.Get your class involved with National Skipping Day on 21 April 2017.