Later this year, on April 22, I will be running the London Marathon for the first time.
This has been something that I have thought about doing for a while and, despite the nerves and the sore feet from the training, I am really looking forward to the challenge – he says now!
The London Marathon is like no other – it is essentially a very British celebration and raises millions of pounds each and every year for good causes across the country.
I will be running in aid of two fantastic local charities – Corby Nightlight and Crazy Hats Breast Cancer Appeal – which do so much for people in our area.
I have seen the work that Corby Nightlight does first hand, as well as raised their important efforts to support homeless people in our community in the House of Commons and with Ministers.
I am currently actively supporting their bid to secure new, fit-for-purpose premises in which to operate, and I hope that the money I raise will help with this important work.
Crazy Hats Breast Cancer Appeal is also a charity that I have long supported, and which supports all aspects of breast cancer care here in Northamptonshire.
Crazy Hats was founded in 2001 by the remarkable Glennis Hooper, and has since raised more than £2m for breast cancer care, and given £900,000 to Kettering General Hospital, and I am so pleased to be able to play my part in supporting their work once again.
I can’t think of anyone more inspirational than Glennis and the thought of letting her and the charity down will help to focus the mind in the latter stages on the day– I’ll have to keep going!
One of the lesser-known things about being a Member of Parliament is that you are granted automatic entry into the London Marathon by the organisers, without having to be drawn in the ballot – something which can take years!
This is all organised with the help of the London Marathon team and the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Running, of which I recently became the Chairman.
The Running APPG is a cross-party group to encourage running as a sport, and to inspire more people to take it up across the country, and the marathon is unsurprisingly one of the biggest events in the calendar.
This year there have been a record number of MPs sign up to run the London Marathon – the count currently stands at 21, including me, and fingers crossed everyone will make it to the start line without injury!
It has been a bit of a challenge to fit marathon training around my Parliamentary commitments – often squeezing in a quick run either early in the morning, or late at night – but with a practice half-marathon coming up this weekend, my training feels like it is going according to plan.
It would be great to hear from any of my constituents who are also running the London Marathon, and to hear how your training is going, and to everyone taking part in our area, good luck!