VIDEO: March runner to take part in London Marathon 34 years after completing it for the first time
- Credit: Submitted
It may be 34 years on but one woman from March is gearing up to take on the London Marathon for the first time since storming across the finish line in 1984.
Lesley Wright was 21-years-old when she first took on the long-distance running event and always dreamed to complete it again before she was 30.
But after settling down and starting a family, that dream took a back seat – until now.
After months of training with March Athletics Club, the 55-year-old mother of two will now be taking on the marathon with her daughter, 28-year-old Rachel, this Sunday.
It has been a journey for Lesley, who until recent years said she “always put her family first” and had “given up” on ever completing the event again.
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But when her father, Alan, suddenly passed away in 2014, it was the reminder that life is too short that pushed her on to sign up again.
She explained: “I remember sitting and watching the London Marathon with my dad in 1983 and saying how I would love to be there taking part. He said to me – what’s stopping you?!
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“When I crossed the finish line I remember saying I would love to be able to do it again before I was 30….now I’m 55!”
In recent years Lesley has joined the March park runs and met familiar faces at the Athletics club from her running heyday. She swims once a week at the George Campbell Leisure Centre, too.
Rachel, who is a PE teacher based in Nottinghamshire, has also been training alongside Lesley via social media, while she has been thousands of miles away on a break to Australia.
“We’ll both be raising money for the British Heart Foundation in memory of my dad,” Lesley added.
“I’m just recovering from a chest infection too so past few weeks have been tough, but I’ve been determined to battle through.”
Lesley has also saved a collection of clippings and memorabilia from her first run – which she completed in four hours 24 minutes on May 13 1984 – then under her maiden name of Lesley Daines.
Her original blue athletics top, running number and Mars sponsored cape that she was presented with when crossing the finish line are all saved in perfect condition.
She wore her top for the first time again for a parkrun in January this year, but will be sporting her March Athletics gear this Sunday.
She continued: “Back then when you crossed the finish line you got a Mars bar along with the cape.
“I am never going to part with all these things because they bring back wonderful memories. But this time will be emotional too, I’m sure.”
To sponsor Lesley and Rachel visit their Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rl-wright