Three people will run the Virgin Money Virtual London Marathon 2021 to raise money for the Jersey Employment Trust and its social enterprise Acorn Enterprises.
The virtual marathon will be run on the same day as the London Marathon, Sunday 3 October. Last year, as a result of the Covid pandemic, the first such virtual event was set up, allowing people to run a 26-mile route near their own home. Participants work out their own route, and they can take up to 24 hours to complete it, making it a more inclusive event.
Two of the runners, Alicia Mead and Christian Basilio, are supported by Acorn Enterprises and are members of the Breath of Fresh Air running club. The club is run by Rik de Louche, who is an Acorn Training & Development Co-ordinator.
Alicia said: “I have been going to Acorn for a couple of years. I barely spoke to anyone when I first went and I have become more talkative and I show more of my personality. It has helped me be more comfortable in group situations. It has also put meaningful routine into my week.”
“I have struggled with anxiety since a young age, which can be really limiting. I struggle with communication, especially with people I don’t know. Sometimes I can become so stressed that I can’t talk. I have a range of sensory issues and I don’t handle change well. I can struggle with concentration and reading other people’s body language or understanding their tone. I struggle with crowds, waiting and uncertainty.”
“I like how it makes me feel good and really helps with my anxiety and overall mental health and makes me feel like I have achieved something. Even if I am having a rubbish day, running always lifts my mood.”
Christian said: “Acorn has increased my confidence and developed my skills. It has made me realise that the only person who can improve my life is me and Acorn has also taught me how to listen. Since joining Breath of Fresh Air in 2019, I have done ParkRun, other 5ks and lots of one-mile tests. I enjoy feeling fit. It helps me sleep and improves my metabolism.”
They can be sponsored here.
The third runner is Heather Hill, a tax compliance manager at RBSi. A keen runner, she has completed about 40 marathons. She is partially sighted though that has never stopped her!
She said: “Having run about 40 marathons in my time I had concluded that I wouldn’t run any more as I had way too many T-shirts. I had also built up a habit of going on holiday and fitting in a marathon in many far-flung places but now we have restrictions on travel and events because of the pandemic. However, I have still been running and I love it and when the opportunity came up to run one final marathon for an amazing cause, I couldn’t say no. My first marathon was in London in 2003 so it seems fitting to end with a virtual London Marathon.”
“I’m very keen to support JET as I have a disability. I am partially sighted but I’m fortunate enough that there aren’t many things in life that I’m not able to do. I do appreciate that for lots of people with disabilities it isn’t that easy and I applaud the work that JET does in supporting these individuals.”
“My plan is to run the full distance in one go. The Jersey Marathon happens to be on the same day so I’m aiming to get started early so I can be home in time for a nice recovery lunch. I think most of the miles will be covered in the west of the Island.”
Heather can be sponsored here.