Double Olympic Gold Medallist Dame Kelly Holmes, completed the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 24, 2016 in a great time for great causes. She completed the course in three hours and 11 minutes but admitted it was one of the biggest challenges of her life and only possible because she ‘ran every step’ for five charities close to her heart.

The distance was 28 times more than her longest competitive race of 1,500m and Kelly had to train hard and
adjust her running style and technique to be able to complete the gruelling distance of 26.2 miles.

“For me, running a marathon did NOT came naturally or easily and quite early on in training I realised it would take its toll on my body: I had to completely re-evaluate my training to get ready for this huge distance,” says Kelly. “I’d like to say thanks to all the runners who have shared their advice – I took as much as I could on board on the day, starting with everyone’s top tip not to run off too fast. Luckily, I found myself running in step with a chap called Ben who had agreed to run with me and keep me in control. He effectively helped me pace the whole race and his help was immense.

“I had an amazing time at the Virgin Money London Marathon: it was an incredible experience and I couldn't believe my time,” says Kelly. “Running with thousands of other people was something I am not used to and occasionally I had to take a deep breath and try to relax. Running over Tower Bridge was really special and I made it fun by taking selfies with Ben. I made sure there was no wall by telling myself there was no wall and as I ran down The Mall to that famous finish line I just wanted to run as quickly as possible to complete my Marathon. It was a great experience but not one I’d repeat in a hurry: it was one of the toughest things I’ve done! Believe me, every step was for my charities and that made it all worthwhile.”

Kelly ran to raise money for five charities close to her heart and wanted to raise £50,000 by the time she finished the London Marathon. “I’m a little off that target but hope people who watched the Marathon will be inspired by what they saw to donate to my page to help me hit that £50,000 in the next couple of weeks.

“The work being done at these charities is phenomenal, life changing and, in some cases, life-saving. Like all charities they need donations and goodwill to survive and every pound is valuable and appreciated.”

Kelly is raising money for Mind UK, Myeloma UK, Hospice In The Weald, The Pickering Cancer Care Drop In Centre and the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust. To donate and find out more about why these charities are important to her at click here.

Inspired to take on a challenge of your own? Find out more information here.