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“Why I run for St Catherine’s Hospice”

Since joining Team StCH, Jo Stow has run 6 marathons, and is currently embarking on her 7th, to help raise vital funds for us. To date she has raised almost £25,000! Ahead of the London Marathon this weekend, Jo shares with us her reasons for running and why she has chosen to support St Catherine’s Hospice.

“Something I often get asked is why do I run? I run for the freedom, to escape, to think, to not think, to release endorphins, for the feel good factor, when I’m happy, when I’m sad – I generally find that going for a run solves anything and everything! Today I also got asked ‘why St Catherine’s Hospice ?’ This one is easy; there was never any doubt that this was the charity I wanted to run for!

I chose to support, and run for, St Catherine’s Hospice in memory of my younger brother, Andy. He was in his first term at university when he was diagnosed with cancer. Andy had excellent care from some of the top doctors in London, but when it became obvious that there was nothing more that they could do to help him it was the staff at St Catherine’s who supported Andy over his last few weeks and allowed him to achieve his wish of being able to stay at home with his friends and family around him, keeping him both safe and comfortable.

No family should have to go through what we have been through, but until there is a cure for the terrible disease that is cancer, St Catherine’s will continue to play an important part in providing comfort and reassurance for patients and their families.  They need our continued support so somewhere another Andy can be supported.

I started running as a way to get my own space, and to escape. It gave me time to think, to process what was going on, and sometimes time to not have to think, just to listen to my music, or to the birds singing. It was so easy to get started and I didn’t need any fancy gear to start with, although I do have lots of fancy gear now! I’ve done other events; cycling, walking, but running is my favourite! The runner’s high after a run is fantastic, and you’ll never regret a run!

St Catherine’s Hospice is a very special place to me, and running for, and raising money for Team StCH allows me to do something amazing in memory of my brother, and help other people in his situation. When it’s cold, dark or wet outside, the motivation of knowing I’m running for Team StCH and fundraising for St Catherine’s Hospice helps me to lace up my trainers and get out there!

The team at St Catherine’s are so supportive and helpful. The marathon training events they put on are a great chance to meet the other runners, share tips and stories, and hear from some interesting speakers on a range of topics. The team are always happy to help, and are always at the end of the phone, or an email, to help answer questions and provide fundraising aids and tips.

If you’re thinking about running a half marathon, or a marathon, for St Catherine’s Hospice, then JUST DO IT! The sense of achievement when you cross the finish line and receive your medal is out of this world, and will create memories that will last forever. Yes, the training is hard, but it is totally worth it, and the team at St Catherine’s will be there to help you, and cheer you on on the day!

My top fundraising tip for anyone who hasn’t run an event for charity before is to blog about your marathon training, it’s great to look back on, and a great way to show friends and family how hard you’re training, and what you’re giving up to achieve your goal. I’ve always found that rain drenched and muddy selfies get the most likes, and help with the donations!

Since joining Team StCH I’ve run 6 marathons, and am currently embarking on my 7th, and have helped to raise almost £25,000 for St Catherine’s. My favourite moment was turning the corner and running down the mall, the finishing stretch of the London Marathon, the volume of cheering is absolutely insane, and finishing my 2nd marathon in 7 days, with a personal best time, after completing the Brighton Marathon the weekend before, in 2016!”

Good luck to all those who are taking part in the London Marathon this weekend – Team StCH will be cheering for you all the way!

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