AFTER over a decade applying to take part in the London Marathon, a Ballymoney lady is finally hitting the streets.
Donna Christie originally from Greengage Cottages, has been training ‘like a mad woman’ and submitting her application every year since 2000, but has never been picked to run the 26.2 mile challenge.
However ‘lady luck’ has finally struck this year granting Donna the chance to fulfil her dream and raise money for Mencap, a charity close to her heart.
Donna explains on her Just Giving website: “As you all know I have been training like a mad woman the past few years with my fingers crossed hoping to be given the chance to run the London Marathon. After applying every year since early 2000, lady luck has finally granted me the opportunity to run no less than 26.2 miles for a charity close to my heart, and in doing so given me the chance to finally make a dream come true.
“In April I’ll be running the London 2011 Virgin Marathon for all of you in support of Mencap, a very special charity. Many of you have said I’m crazy wanting to run so far, but its because of each and every one of your donations that has enabled me to run my heart out for the marathon on April 17.”
Donna got the keep fit bug from her activities with her arctic fisherman friend during her travels around Canada and America from June 2007 to June 2009, where she learnt how to rock climb, ice climb, nordic ski, split board, and where back country mountaineering was a big part of her life.
“It was on my journey I decided to keep on this righteous path of fitness and well being and still continue to apply to run the worlds No1 marathon. And now it’s happening!,” she laughed.
For many years Donna has completed numerous challenges, marathons and training sessions in preparation of the London Marathon and has raised a staggering £1,500 for a number of local charities.
Donna, a nursing student at Queen’s University, continued: “After the overwhelming support for the Wilmslow half marathon, the 60 mile Causeway Cycle Challenge and other charity events closer to home last year, I know the local community believes in me. I’m ecstatic at the opportunity I have been given to run amongst 35,000 people no less and will continue to put my heart and soul into my training.
“I have managed to raise part of my target amount throughout the past six months with all my other challenges that have helped me get my fitness level to this point. Events like the 10 day Belfast Bikram Yoga challenge and the Bikram February challenge @ the Mill which is coming to an end now and involved completing 32 classes in the four weeks it was running.
“I have also just returned from an intense 10 days at the Balham Hot Bikram Yoga studio in London managing a total of 24 classes, that’s 36 hours of a total mind and body workout, stretching it to six hours in the one day just to improve my stamina for what lies ahead of me on the 17th April. Moving on from the Bikram buzz I am on I also have been running in local races such as the 10K ‘Spar’ Coleraine and the Kennedy McArthur half marathon in Dervock.
“Another hobby of mine that has also been a great success in assisting to raise this substantial amount is my passion for snow capped peaks: I climbed Mt Baker, the 10,781ft mountain in WA and touched the peak of many more than I thought possible in the last three years.”
Thanks to the generosity and overwhelming support of the local community, Donna has raised £400 for Mencap, however she still has a long way to go to reach her target of £2,500.
She added: “I hold Mencap close to my heart because my past caring experiences has enabled me to have the insight into peoples lives who do have learning difficulties and I have come to understand they are under represented in the community. So, please find a moment or two to consider those who, from such an early age, are less fortunate than ourselves and support me in my efforts to be a voice amongst the crowd.
I believe that anything is possible and when we find it within ourselves to believe in those close to and around us, truly great things can happen. Help me run for everything and everyone who I feel blessed to represent and sponsor me if you can. I’ll be putting in my best effort for ya all!”
* Donna is holding a fundraising event in The Anchor Bar, Club Aura on Monday, March 14 from 9pm until 1am. Tickets cost £3. The event will include a table quiz, fantastic raffle prizes plus music from DJ Brian McKay. The raffle includes vouchers from Els Beauty Salon, MGM Hairdressing, Morelli Ice Cream, Woodies Surf shop, Spinnaker Restaurant, computing lessons worth £50, one hour reflexology with Eve O’Mullane and much, much more. Everyone is welcome to come along and raise much needed money for Mencap.
Donations can also be made on line at www.justgiving.com/DonnaChristie4Mencap