The longer days and brighter skies have been warmly welcomed by Catherine MacDonald who has spent the winter battling with the wind and rain in training for her first ever marathon.
The 43 year-old who lives in Upper Coll with her husband and four children is taking on the epic challenge this summer and is delighted to be entering her first marathon in London, her home city, the year it is hosting the Olympics.
“I’ve always wanted to run a marathon,” Catherine explained, “and I’m not getting any younger. I lived in London when I was young and with the Olympics there this year what better time. My Dad’s still in West London so I’ll be back on my home turf so to say.”
She continued: “I started training in October and quite often the weather has been wet and windy. But you think of the people sponsoring you – and the kids with the charity – and it keeps you going. It really spurs you on.”
Catherine is running in London for the charity ‘Children with Cancer UK’, and was offered one of their Golden Tickets to represent them in London and raise funds.
“I was really amazed and excited about that, they only have five Golden Tickets,” Catherine said.
She has to raise at least £2,000 for the charity and for Catherine, it is a cause that is close to her heart.
“I wanted to raise money for a charity that people here can relate to,” she explained. “My friend’s little girl who is in my son’s class at school, had a rare form of leukaemia last year and underwent long, gruelling treatment in Yorkhill for many months and was very poorly.
“Thankfully, she is now back at school looking very well. So I applied to Children with Cancer UK who fund vital research into the causes, treatment and prevention of childhood cancers, and they also support many families all over the UK.”
So with her spot in the London Marathon confirmed, and her charity chosen all that is left is the daunting challenge of running the 26 miles through the streets of London on the 22nd of April.
But although it will be her first Marathon Catherine has plenty of experience of shorter races.
“First of all I did the woman’s cancer 5k which was a great start,” she explained. And the “amazing atmosphere,” she experienced in the first event must have inspired her to run further distances as she has gradually upped the number miles she is able to run.
“It’s so good to have a target,” she said. “My next one was the 10k. When I did that I next wanted to get a faster time.
“I never thought I do a half marathon. But you just keep going and gradually build up.”
And having just completed a half marathon in Inverness it looks like she is almost ready for London. And her advice to those of us who would never even dream it was possible to run a marathon is: “Don’t worry if you have to walk for bits. Go out training three or four times a week, fit it around your life. And certainly walking bits isn’t a bad idea.”
If anyone would like to sponsor me to help raise funds for Children with Cancer UK, they can by visiting Catherine’s shop in Back, The White House, Back or by going online to her secure fund-raising web-page: virginmoneygiving.com/catherinemacdonald1