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Running a virtual half marathon in the middle of lockdown: Tamara shares her story

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Tamara was Leap’s top community fundraiser in 2020. We caught up with her to hear more about her training, running a half marathon virtually, and how she exceeded her fundraising target in the middle of a lockdown.

In 2020, Tamara wanted to run her first half marathon, and she saw that Leap had spaces for the London Landmarks Half Marathon. Since Leap’s values aligned very closely with her own, Tamara contacted us to sign up for the March event.

Tamara has always been a runner, but she felt that she needed some extra motivation to do the distance. She wanted all the training and the miles to be going towards a cause that is important to her.

Leap seemed like a really good fit for me – their values align closely with my own and the work that Leap is doing to support young people in the community is really important to me. I attended a Taster workshop to find out more about Leap’s work, and thought it seemed like a great organisation. I was happy and proud to run for Leap!

With the half marathon due to take place in March, Tamara was well underway in her training when the news came that the event was cancelled as a result of the pandemic. Tamara had already successfully achieved her fundraising target by this point, having shared her JustGiving page widely with colleagues and friends.

I am lucky to have a socially minded group of friends and colleagues who are incentivised to give back to the community. They gave generously and spread the word - people were motivated to donate by understanding the work that Leap is doing.

Having completed her training and after raising £2,000 for Leap, Tamara decided to go ahead and run the half marathon virtually on a sunny Saturday in northwest London. Her 13-mile route took her past Abbey Road, Lord’s Cricket Ground and through Regent’s Park, where her husband and daughter were waiting at the finish line with a homemade medal to congratulate her.

There was a huge sense of accomplishment, and the experience of the half marathon sparked something in me. I have run every single day since. In the middle of lockdown, when I couldn’t control anything going on around me, I just kept running.

Tamara at the finish line of the London Landmarks Half Marathon with a homemade medal from her daughter

Tamara has since completed two more half marathons virtually, and has joined a running club for black women called Black Girls Do Run UK. Tamara will be running for Leap this autumn in the Royal Parks Half Marathon, which is taking place on 10 October. The route for the half marathon goes through Hyde Park, St James’ Park, Green Park and Kensington Gardens.

Having the crowds in October is going to be a huge accelerant for me. I can’t wait to hear the crowds and see people cheering me on!

If you would like to challenge yourself and help raise funds to ensure that young people get the training, support and skills they need to better manage conflict in their lives and communities, why not sign up to become a community fundraiser for Leap? We have several challenge events coming up, which you or your organisation can get involved in. To find out more, please contact Ana Atherton