A first-time Barley marathon runner has raised over £3,500 for Pendleside Hospice with her Memory Miles run at the London Marathon, which saw sponsors dedicate each of the 26.2 miles to a loved one as a tribute.
Finishing with an incredible time of four hours, 35 minutes, Pendleside fundraiser Jo Applegate completed her Memory Miles challenge at the world-famous event last month. Allowing people to "buy" a mile in tribute to a loved one with a donation to her fundraising cause for the hospice, Jo was inundated with requests, eventually running in memory of 31 people.
"I had a fantastic day, it went so much better than I expected," said Jo, who had been following a strict training programme since the start of the year in preparation for the marathon. "The furthest I'd done on a training run was 21.5 miles around the Preston Guild Wheel cycle route and that was so hard, I absolutely hated it.
"I was thinking, 'where's that extra five miles going to come from?' but on the day it was amazing, everything fell into place and the crowds were amazing," she added. "I was really nervous in the morning; I was almost in tears! I just paced myself all the way through and really enjoyed it - I never thought I'd be saying that!"
As well as her Memory Miles cause, Jo also held a quiz night in her home village of Barley and organised a sweepstake on her finishing time to raise more funds, while her tribute shirt - which Jo says she could've sold twice over - raised £1,000 alone.
"Running for people helped get me through it; I was thinking of every one of them," said Jo. "I had a temporary tattoo of everyone's names, so every single mile I looked at who it was for - with some, I'd got to know their families quite well, so it was quite personal. You can't hope for better motivation: as it got harder I'd just look at who it was for and say 'come on, get your act together'.
With one of the people for whom she was running in tribute having run the marathon himself, Jo said that the event was tinged with an element of personal connection as well, saying that it felt special to be following in his footsteps. "I'm so honoured to have run for Pendleside and for all those families," she said. "Massive thanks to everyone who donated."
To donate to Jo's cause, head to https://www.justgiving.com/Jo90-Applegate