TWO LIBRARIANS and a vegan runner from Penarth are hoping to raise thousands of pounds for charity by taking part in the London Marathon this weekend.
Women Running Penarth members Lynne Evans and Jo Hodges will be joined by 25-year-old Lewis Sydenham to take part in the 26.2mile race, as they each try and raise money for causes close to their hearts.
Jo Hodges, who works as a librarian at Coleg y Cymoedd, was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) nine years ago and is raising money for the MS Trust.
Jo, 36, has never run a marathon before but is hoping her 26.2mile effort will inspire others coping with MS that they can still live a fulfilling life. She said that she had a relapse a few weeks ago but was still hoping to run the marathon in around five hours
“There has been a lot of bad press with MS and assisted suicide, but my motivation is to say that it can be lousy but it doesn’t have to be as bad as it seems,” she said.
“People like Debbie Purdy are looking at assisted suicide, but if you are recently diagnosed with MS it’s not what you want to hear.”
She added: “It’s also a bit of a third midlife crisis and I’m only 36, as I’ve already bought a sports car, a Mazda MX 5, and cycled from London to Paris for charity.”
Jo, who will be joined by her husband David during the marathon, said: “I’m aiming for completition not competition.
“I’m absolutely petrified at the thought of it.
“It will be a bit of a run and a walk, but at long as it takes me under eight hours and I get my runners t-shirt and medal I’ll be happy.”
Jo, who lives in Barry, has also got a number of fundraising events planned and will be holding a Twmpath Welsh language barn dance at the Mount Sorrell Hotel on May 16 and a treasure hunt in Cardiff Bay later in May.
She will be one of only 15 librarians taking part in the London Marathon this year.
Fellow Women Running Penarth member Lynne Evans, who also manages the libraries at Neath Port Talbot College, is taking part in the prestigious event in aid of Velindre Cancer Centre.
It will be the second time that Lynne, of Plymouth Road, has tackled a marathon after she took part in the Edinburgh Marathon last year.
With just a few days to go before the marathon Lynne, 44, said she was “alternating between a mix of being scared stiff and wanting to get it over and done with”.
Lynne, 44, scooped a place in the public ballot and said it was an opportunity that she couldn’t turn down.
“I think the London Marathon is a once in a lifetime chance and I can’t wait for it,” she said.
Lynne will be raising money for Velindre Cancer Centre after her father was treated there shortly before he died.
“My dad died because of his illness but the nurses were all brilliant with him and I want to support them in any way I can,” she said.
Vegan runner Lewis Sydenham is also set to run the London Marathon in aid of Fair Trade UK.
Lewis, who has never run a marathon before, has been training for the marathon by running the Cardiff 5k parkrun every weekend, while also juggling long distance runs.
Lewis, who took part in the 750mile Around Wales charity challenge around the circumference of Wales in 2011, has already raised more than £400 for Fair Trade UK.
“Since I have become a vegan it has made me more aware of Fair Trade UK and I really believe in their ethos,” he said.
Lewis, who will be travelling to London with Les Croupiers running club, added that he was aiming for three hours and 30 minutes.
The London Marathon will take place on Sunday, April 13.
To sponsor Lynne go to: http://www.justgiving.com/Lynne-London2014
You can also follow her on twitter at @lynneevans24
To sponsor Jo go to: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/DaveandJoHodges
You can also follow her on twitter at @jofromcardiff
To sponsor Lewis go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/lew26.2
You can also follow him on twitter at @Lewww7