When Rachel Thackeray, 32, a single mum from Willenhall turned 30, she decided she wanted to do something big to celebrate. And with that, she chose to run a marathon – having never run before.
In December 2013, four months after her 30th birthday, Rachel discovered that she had secured herself a place in the London Marathon, running for Asthma UK. Elated to have a place, running for a charity close to her heart, Rachel had less than four months to prepare for the challenge.
Running for Asthma UK
Having suffered from Asthma since she was a child, Rachel was passionate about supporting the work and services of Asthma UK, and found this a huge motivator – and comfort – during her training. “I’ve had asthma since I was eight,” says Rachel. “I am also allergic to lemon, which sets my asthma off and so makes everyday tasks difficult as most cleaning products contain lemon. It was reassuring to know I’d have support from the Asthma UK helpline during my training if I ever needed it.”
Finding her feet in running for the first time, learning to pace herself, while building up the distance, was difficult for Rachel – particularly while also having to manage her asthma. “When I started, I had to take my time and build up my running bit by bit. I also had to find a breathing routine that suited me,” she explains.
A lifetime achievement
Despite having only ran 13.1 miles on her longest training run in April 2014, Rachel achieved her dream, crossing the finish line of the London Marathon overwhelmed with emotion. “Marathon day was amazing, as it was very emotional seeing so many of my friends pop up in different places along the course,” says Rachel. “For me, it was never about getting a good time, it was just about finishing and raising money for a really good cause. Crossing the finish line was overwhelming: I kept thinking ‘I did that!’ over and over again.”
Anything is possible
For Rachel, the marathon was a crucial reminder of her own strength and determination – something she never wanted to forget. And, two days later, Rachel decided to get a tattoo as a permanent reminder and symbol of this. “It consists of a motivational quote, my finish time, the Asthma UK logo and a silhouette of Tower Bridge,” she says. “I often go back to Tower Bridge and stand there remembering marathon day, like it was yesterday. Having reached that goal, I now dream of running one more marathon, in New York, and having my new partner Dan and son Joshua there to cheer me on.”
For more information about the work and support serves of Asthma UK visit www.asthma.org.uk