Reporter, runner and fundraiser

Eden Taylor-Draper and Jack Marshall at the 2014 Great Manchester Run.Eden Taylor-Draper and Jack Marshall at the 2014 Great Manchester Run.
Eden Taylor-Draper and Jack Marshall at the 2014 Great Manchester Run.
I have been running on and off all my life. As a child and teenager I was a member of my local athletics club, excelling in both sprinting and long distance, as well as field events too.

When motherhood came along, exercise took a bit of a back seat, but when my daughter started high school, my training regime started again in earnest.

Quite frankly I was only running to de-stress after a particularly bad day at the office, so when the offer of a chance to compete in a race and raise money for charity came along I jumped at the opportunity.

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It is thanks to my friend of 20 years, Richard, that I got to compete in Sunday’s Great Manchester 10k, raising funds for Lymphoma and Leukaemia Research.

Richard is the dad of Emmerdale soap star Eden Taylor-Draper, who plays Belle Dingle, and through her TV connections gets involved in lots of charity events.

Eden has over the years formed a friendship with fellow teenager Jack Marshall who suffers from Moebius Syndrome, which means he is unable to walk unassisted, has difficulty with hearing and is unable to smile.

Despite his illness, Jack has raised thousands of pounds for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research by undertaking mammoth challenges including climbing Yorkshire’s Three Peaks and taking part in junior runs.

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And it is for this reason we all raced at the weekend for this worthy cause.

For me completing the course was the ultimate feather in my cap, at 43, I thought I was getting a little past it.

It has been made all the more poignant as just last month a long time friend contacted me to say her mum had sadly passed away from leukaemia - having been given 12 months to live, she died after just six weeks.

She asked if I would run in her memory, and I couldn’t have been more privileged.

The whole experience has been simply amazing for me.

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I have got myself fit, I have taken part in my first competitive race for decades, my pace continues to improve and my head is in a really good place - most of the time!

What is more important though is the hundreds of pounds we have raised and the fact we have raised the profile of this particular charity.

This won’t be the last time I do this, the fundraising bug has got me, and it is a fabulous feeling.