In the first of our ‘London Marathon Spotlight’ series, we speak to mum-of-two Emily Christmas, who was awarded one of our club places for the The 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon to help raise money for the Great North Air Ambulance Service.

How long have you been running, and how/why did you start?

I started running in 2007, it was that year that I gave up smoking. I had a 30 a day rolling tobacco habit and I needed something to replace my addiction! I needed something to motivate me to stay away from smoking; so I ditched the cigs, moved to Ambleside to join my then boyfriend (now husband) James and took up running. I started running very slowly on the coffin track out of Ambleside and fell in love! At first my pace was slow but I gradually built up the distance, doing my first ever half marathon in Langdale in 2007. From then on I continued to build up mileage and over the years worked on my pace and speed. We moved back down south in 2008 for two years so I joined a running club (Hunts AC) and built my road running; this was my first introduction to speed efforts and that helped with my pace!

What made you want to attempt the marathon? Have you done one before?

In 2010 I turned 30. What else to do but run a marathon (alongside getting married, relocating to Grasmere, and climbing Mera peak on our honeymoon – what a year). This was also the first time I went fell running, James convinced me to try it and we went up Helm crag, which was amazing! My first marathon was Edinburgh, I loved it but didn’t get the time I wanted, just under 6 hours. So I ran it again the following year and got 4.59 and 50 odd seconds, scraping under my target time of 5 hours. I loved the training and the feeling of endurance running and ever since I have been trying to get a place at London. I continued to run, joining Keswick AC where I have made so many friends including so many inspirational runners! I joined via the Wednesday girls, me and my friend Rachel Kearns spotted an ex colleague of mine (our lovely Lesley) and saw her meeting a group of brightly dressed women, we joined them for a run and chat and through the Wednesday girls found the great club that is Keswick AC.

What kind of training are you doing and how is it going?

My husband James helped me put together a 16 week training plan, starting from a base of having done a 10 mile long run each week. The plan includes 2 weeks hard, 1 week easy then repeat. I build up miles on a long and medium run, building two extra miles on each of the two longer runs and also include one efforts sessions (I try to get to club training for these if fits with kids and work) and/or shorter recovery run, also one swim. Every third week is recovery, dropping the mileage on long runs and no efforts or speed work. I’m in week 9 at moment and my longest run so far is 20 miles! I’m trying to fit training around my two lovely kids Alice and Toby so I do often run at night, but they are worth it!

Do you have a target time and if so, what is it?

I would love to run 4.30 or under but who knows? I am just so excited about running The London Marathon and am gong to give it my best effort. This marathon is part of a wider training schedule for an event in July where me and 5 others are swimming the English channel as a relay team to raise money for Great North Air Ambulance. We call ourselves The Cumbrian Channel Crossers if you want to check out our face book and just giving page! I am hoping running such a great race like London will increase donations for our charity. I really am so grateful to Keswick AC for giving me the opportunity to run the London Marathon, I know there are a few other members also running including Diane Shaw, Dave Kearns, Adrian Holmes and Paul Slone so maybe a Keswick vest will get spotted on the BBC!