In just 10 days, our fabulous team of 27 supporters will be putting on their running shoes and braving one of the most iconic marathon routes.

Come rain or shine, they will be taking on 26.2 miles in the London Marathon in aid of United Response. We spoke to Zoe, one of the team, to find out how she’s gearing up for next week.

Inspired by her best friend, who ran the route last year after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, Zoe decided to take on the challenge herself. Having already been familiar with United Response’s work, Zoe said she "thought it would be a lovely idea to run for such a brilliant cause that is local and tangible" to her.

This will be her first marathon, having previously run 10k, and since she began training she said she has "fallen in love with long distance running. Who’d have thought I would have fun running for three hours?!" Zoe recently completed the Richmond Half-Marathon and is feeling fully prepared to take on the big 26 next week.

Zoe takes her hard work even further

As if training for a marathon wasn’t enough, Zoe has also been gallantly hosting fundraising events left, right and centre in a bid to raise £1,500 for United Response. From yoga sessions to make up parties, ping-pong tournaments to pub quizzes and many more – Zoe’s done it all! Most modestly, Zoe said: "You really have to put the effort in and love doing it. It’s not hard work but it can be difficult."

As well as all her training and fundraising efforts, Zoe has also found the time to meet up with Dan, who is supported by United Response, to go for regular runs in Richmond. 

She said: "It has been great having a charity I can really get involved with – to go out and see how your money helps is just fantastic. It’s been great fun learning about Dan and all his talents." 

Dan is a keen runner with mild learning disabilities and is partially sighted, so requires a guide when he runs. Zoe is also hoping to start volunteering at a local United Response service through their arts and sports clubs – there really is nothing she can’t do!

When asked what advice she would give to anyone wanting to take on a challenge for United Response, Zoe said, "Taking on a marathon is a challenge – don’t think it will be easy, but it will be fun. Having the power and knowledge of that feeling you will get when you finish really is worth it. It helps to have a charity that is so happy to help facilitate how involved you want to be, it’s such unique attention – you’re always there for us to call."

Come and cheer on Zoe!

Fancy coming to cheer Zoe on after all her hard work? We’re looking for volunteers to join our cheering station next Sunday so, if you’re interested, please email the fundraising team.

If you’re feeling inspired by Zoe's experience, why not take on a challenge yourself? To sponsor Zoe, please visit her online fundraising page and show your support!

Zoe spoke to Sarah Riddlestone, fundraising assistant.