A BARKHAM woman took part in last Sunday’s London Marathon – and it’s her warm down exercise after a year of running at least 5km daily.
On Tuesday, April 17, Soph Tarttelin held a celebratory run after pounding the streets every day for the past 365 days, sometimes running up to 20km at a time.
And the 26.2-mile run round London is the icing on the cake for the 44-year-old, who has undertaken the epic challenge to raise funds for mental health charity MIND. She is on course to raise more than £5,000.
“I thought I’ve got to do something to make this big,” she said of her decision to run a daily 5km and ask people for sponsorship.
She originally ran for seven consecutive days and then decided to see if she could keep it up for a whole year, including running several half marathons.
“Lots of people have been getting behind me,” she said. “People have also started running with me.”
That support has included her husband Paul, who joined her on late night runs, two nieces who ran half marathons with her, and one of her older sisters.
“My oldest brother came and walked with me once, as he can’t run but he can walk.”
She said that she chose MIND because it is a charity close to her heart.
“Family members have suffered with mental health issues,” she said, adding that she wanted to help people cope their mental health issues.
She said: “I’ve always been a believer is talking very openly and not one for keeping things behind closed doors.
“I’ve a very loving and supportive family, that support network is very, very important.”
But she feels that not everyone is able to be as open about their mental health. Since starting the year-long fundraising runs, she has posted pictures every day on Instagram and Facebook and that has led to people to share their stories with her.
“It’s incredible how people have opened up to me,” she said. “People put cheerful faces on but inside they’re really hurting. They’re feeling nothing and empty, but they can’t tell anyone.
“One in four of us go through mental health problems. The more we can talk about it, the more we can help.”
Mrs Tarttelin’s runs have not been without difficulty. For much of the past week the Coombes Primary School teacher has been suffering from a back pain.
“It’s been tricky, I’ve had to walk 5km. It’s been an emotional week,” she said.
But she will, by hook or by crook, make it round the London Marathon course on Sunday.
Looking back over the year, she said: “They have been days when it’s been really, really tough, times when I cried doing, days going out at 10pm. Paul has gone with me and his support has been phenomenal.
“There have been dark times but I never doubted I’d finished because I’m stubborn! If I set my mind to it, I’ll do it.”
To donate, log on to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/soph-tarttelin