Marathon runner Elke Biehler-Birch at Baytree Coffee Lounge. (SG010216-122TW)
The mum-of three decided to apply for a place in the 26.2 mile event after being bowled over by the atmosphere and sense of achievement of those who had finished the course.
Elke (42), who manages the Baytree Coffee Lounge, Weston, is running in aid of Children With Cancer, and hopes to raise around £3,000.
“I’m not at all sporty,” she says, “but last year the atmosphere was amazing and I was really carried along by the sense of happiness and achievement, so I jokingly said to my friend ‘that will be me next year’.
“She replied ‘why not?’ and it just made me think.”
Elke missed out on a ballot place, but approached Children With Cancer UK to run on its behalf and was accepted. “Every charity is worth raising money for, but I chose this one, because as a mum of three, thankfully I’ve never been directly touched by cancer, I just can’t imagine what it’s like for people whose children are poorly,” she explains.
Cancer is the biggest child-killer disease in the UK, with almost 4,000 children and young people diagnosed with it in the UK every year.
Children with Cancer UK is the leading national children’s charity dedicated to the fight against childhood cancer. It funds life-saving research into the causes, prevention and treatment of childhood cancer and works to protect young lives through essential welfare programmes.
Elke took up running last year and is now following a strict training plan, which includes three runs a week to help her build up her stamina for the marathon, taking place on Sunday, April 24.
“I’m sticking to the plan to the T, and am trying not to think about the actual race too much. I haven’t really set myself a time, although I would like to get round in five hours.
“But my main focus is to cross that finish line – and hopefully meet my fundraising target,” she adds.
Elke has already raised £2,000 through donations and a festive fundraiser at her home and is also hoping to organise a 70’s / 80’s night.
• You can sponsor Elke online by searching for her page on the uk.virginmoneygiving.com website or make a donation at the Baytree Coffee Lounge, Baytree Nurseries Garden Centre, Weston.