Helen George on running the VMLM - Women's Running

Helen George on running the VMLM

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  November 11, 2015

Credit Jonathan Ford_Helen George Macmillan Cancer Support (3) (2)

Call the Midwife actress Helen George will be swapping her 1950s midwife uniform for a pair of shorts and trainers this weekend, as she prepares to run the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday.

Like her blonde, bubbly and bold on-screen creation, Trixie Franklin, Helen’s air of adventure is something to be admired. Having never raced before, Helen fearlessly committed to run the VMLM at a party last year, admitting that her “gobby” and competitive nature definitely had a part to play. “My friends always have this joke that I think I’m more athletic than they give me credit for, so I wanted to put my money where my mouth is sort of thing,” Helen says.

The emotional turmoil experienced by Helen’s on-screen character, Trixie Franklin, in the fourth series of Call the Midwife was also part of Helen’s decision to run the VMLM this year.

“I made a decision that because the character was going through emotional distress she should lose her curves, so I wanted to do this for the character,” Helen explains. “I really looked at my fitness and how I could do that without really changing my diet.

“I worked out an awful lot and really got into running and weight-training, which lead me to thinking if I’m going to run a marathon, which is on my bucket list, now is probably a good time to do it.”

Brought up Birmingham, home to the NIA, Helen developed an interest in sport and athletics at a young age. “My dad used to do a lot of long distance running when he was younger,” Helen says, “he enjoyed watching the athletics as well. I grew up in Birmingham where we have the NIA so it was always around us. My sister runs as well.”

For the Royal Academy of Music graduate, a hectic, physical and demanding schedule is something Helen is very much familiar with. Use to working 12-hour days on set, filming for Call the Midwife, Helen’s energy levels and discipline are reflected in her attitude towards her training. “We have 12-hour days on set, so it is very time consuming,” says Helen. “You have to actually make yourself workout otherwise you get so sluggish. It is hard to find the time admittedly, because you’re often up at five in the morning and you’ll work till eight o’clock at night.”

While Helen has found training for the VMLM a huge challenge, her commitment to fundraising for Macmillan has been hugely motivational. “It’s a constant mental and physical battle and it’s going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life but at the same time, I’m running for Macmillan,” she says. “I think I’m lucky: I never had cancer and people are going through a lot worse than I am.”

Macmillan is a charity extremely close to Helen’s heart. Helen’s husband, Oliver Boot and his family directly experienced the support of Macmillan when his father died of cancer. “They really got him through,” she explains. Talking about her decision to run for Macmillan, Helen added:

“I’m such a staunch believer in the NHS  ‒ they do so much for cancer patients but I just don’t think the structures are necessarily there for the aftercare, so the emotional support and financial aid.

Macmillan offer so much help. We all know someone who’s had cancer and hopefully we won’t have it but it’s there, it’s around us, and it’s something we can’t ignore. So yes, lets find a cure, but it’s going to appear so we have to deal with that.”

To donate to Helen’s Just Giving page, visit: http://bit.ly/1cQTVk6

Photography: Jonothan Ford

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