Helen to run her first marathon at 66

Helen Kershaw worked in paediatric oncology for 15 years and for a time was partially funded by CLIC (before it became CLIC Sargent). Now retired and aged 66 she has decided to take on the London Marathon for CLIC Sargent. Here, she tells her story.

Helen to run her first marathon at 66

“I had a close association with CLIC Sargent through my work in paediatric oncology. I worked closely with CLIC nurses and Malcolm Sargent social workers (the charities were separate at that time).

“The support and care they provided for the children and their families was exceptional and made a huge difference to them both during and after treatment.

The obvious choice

“People often say it must have been difficult, stressful and sad doing such work – and it was. But it was also humbling and rewarding. Children are quite extraordinary in coping with their illness.

"I found it hugely satisfying and rewarding as a career. So when I decided that I wanted to run a marathon, CLIC Sargent was the obvious choice for my fundraising.

“I started running in my mid 50s but only 5K and 10K distances  and not on a regular or competitive basis. I did a couple of triathlons but every year I looked at the marathon and thought I’d love to do just one. This year seemed to offer a window of opportunity and at the age of 66 I decided it was now or never.

Getting fitter and stronger 

“I have enjoyed the challenge and the feeling of getting fitter and stronger and am feeling quite excited about the race itself but the training is very time consuming and needs huge commitment. 

“My husband has found it impossible to understand why I would want to do this (and he is not averse to a challenge) and continues to be concerned for my welfare but I have followed my training schedule to the letter including advice on nutrition and I remain well.

“I’ve raised over £900 so far and hope to be able to exceed the target of £1,800. At the moment I am getting a lot of generous online donations from friends and am amassing a collection for eBay and car boot sales in the spring which I hope will be a good source of fundraising. I also have a greenhouse full of young plants and will hold a coffee morning with cake and plant sale."

Find out more

To find out how you can take part in an upcoming running event for CLIC Sargent, please contact our Running Events team on 0845 602 4770 or run@clicsargent.org.uk.

If you are interested in coming along to the London Marathon to cheer on Helen and all of our other runners then please complete our volunteer registration form.