When I was a little girl, I always imagined that when I grew up I would be a mother. I had it all planned out: two girls; two boys; and a house full of noise. I also always thought one day I would run the London Marathon, the most iconic long distance race in the city where I was born, grew up and live today. Although the first dream hasn’t quite gone to plan, it’s not going to stop me pursuing the other. This year on Sunday 23rd April, I will be at the starting line in Greenwich pointing west towards the Mall.

I feel honoured to have secured an official charity place to run for Fertility Network UK – the national charity supporting everyone who has experienced fertility problems. In today’s blog, I am launching my sponsorship campaign in the hope of encouraging everyone I know to support them by supporting me. If you’re feeling flush/generous/kindly-coerced, you can read more and donate here.

As I am writing this, I do feel mindful of fundraising fatigue. We all get asked to sponsor people all the time and I’m conscious that many people have already sponsored me in 2015 to swim the English Channel. I will always be so grateful for your support. But this is my pledge: the London Marathon is the second of three personal fundraising challenges that I am planning to undertake during my forties. The final one won’t be for a few more years and after that I’ll be off your case, I promise! Any amount, however small, will mean so much to me and FNUK.

I’m doing all this because a while ago I decided to dedicate this decade of my life to improving the lives of people who struggle to create the families they long for. One of the many ways I’m trying to do this is by raising the profile of and money for charities like Fertility Network UK who are doing vital work to support people going through fertility issues. I would urge everyone to read about their day of action on the 25th March calling for ‘The Right To Try’ – because whilst no-one has the right to have a baby, everyone surely has the right to try and the only way to achieve this is by ensuring there is equality of access to treatment.

I also really need your sponsorship to help me to run. Whilst I’m pretty confident about my determination and endurance, I have always run at the speed of a snail so my real challenge with the London Marathon is to do it in what (for me) is a good time. I’m not confident enough to disclose what I think that is yet (my heart quickens at the thought) and please don’t get any ‘sub-four’ ideas (that’s just impossible when you’re starting from a place where you regularly get overtaken by small dogs and toddling children). But I do want to stretch myself, so I will tell you this…

I ran my first ever half marathon in March last year (you may have read about it on my blog) but what I didn’t tell you then is that I did it in 2 hours and 43 minutes and if you know anything at all about running, you’ll know that’s slow. It’s the kind of pace that when you get to the finishing line, everyone else has already gone home. And whilst I was delighted to complete it, I knew then that my challenge is to become a better runner for all the mid-forties women who are keen to find their inner Mo Farah.

So please sponsor me because I may never be a mother and I may never even be a runner but like all the hardest challenges in life, the important thing is to have THE RIGHT TO TRY.

http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserPage.action?userUrl=JessicaHepburn&faId=778906&isTeam=false

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