Helen Witter ran the Manchester marathon on 8th April this year aged 61. It is the third time she has competed in the event. She tells us about her experience.
“Over the years I have run the Manchester marathon three times and have raised £4,913 to help fund vital ovarian cancer research, after losing my mum, Mabel, in 2014. My mum was such a strong, courageous woman and this seemed like a fitting way to pay tribute to her and raise money for an important cause.
In previous years I have always follow a detailed marathon training plan, however this year it was hindered by a viral infection in December and January and of course the bad weather. However, I believe that these challenges are sent to try us and it didn't put me off.
On the day itself, the weather forecasts advised heavy rain, but fortunately the day was mild and at times even sunny.
The atmosphere was fantastic and I was cheered on by the crowds of spectators who lined the route. Of course, it helped that I wore my Ovarian Cancer Action running vest with my name on the front. This really made a difference and I lost count of the spectators shouting “Come on Helen you can do this”. They really inspired me to dig deep and keep running when it got tough.
I managed a good pace around 10.3 mins per mile and felt very good until I hit mile 19/20 I then really struggled and walked/ran some of the remaining miles. I thought deeply about the sponsors and what the money raised so far would help to do and this spurred me on. I knew I would do it however hard it felt.
I finished the race in 4 hours 52 mins, which was slightly slower than my previous time but the important thing was...I did it!
I think my medal and my face says it all.
I have raised this money due to the kindness of many sponsors for which I am very grateful. I will continue in my quest to raise as much money as I can to ensure medical research continues."