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Julia runs London Marathon in aid of Alice’s Arc

Julia Lawton, a secretary in the Southampton office, together with her friend Catrina were fortunate to obtain their London Marathon places via their running club. This prompted many people to ask if they were running for charity and at the time they weren’t, however, they decided to rethink.

Julia and Catrina were both touched and affected by a very courageous local girl called Sophie, who, at the age of 10, was suffering from terminal cancer. Sophie’s Mum wrote a blog on Facebook called ‘Sophie’s journey’ which she had been writing since Sophie was diagnosed in September 2020. The blog followed her daughter’s journey over the past year – it was a heart-breaking read, very emotional and upsetting, and touched the hearts of many. This, along with the fact that there is very little funding going into childhood cancers, Julia and Cat made the decision to raise funds and awareness for Alice’s Arc, a children’s cancer charity dedicated to funding research into finding a cure and less harsh treatments for Rhabdomyosarcoma.

Julia’s training was hampered when she contracted COVID at the start of the year, having to take almost six weeks off running due to breathing issues. Even after this period, her training remained very tough and she still doesn’t feel her best to this day and is currently using inhalers to help the condition which she had never used before COVID. However, Julia did a fantastic job and completed the London Marathon on Sunday 3 October in five hours one minute and 53 seconds!

She says: “It was an amazing day, such great support from the crowd and friends who came up to support. The atmosphere was electric and there were so many fantastic fancy dress costumes. I will not lie, it was really tough towards the end and realising I was not going to hit the sub five hours, leisurely made it down The Mall at the end and took it all in. I did stop to chat to several supporters on route, so realistically it was a sub five hour marathon, but at the end of the day I just wanted to finish it! That was marathon number four for me – I said no more – but have ‘accidently’ applied for the ballot for next year! I am proud of myself for getting the job done!

Sadly, Sophie passed away two weeks ago and the funeral was on Monday. I am so pleased we decided to dedicate our Marathon efforts on behalf of Alice’s Arc and that I was able to do my bit in spreading awareness that there is so little funding that goes into childhood cancers. I am also chuffed that we raised so much money – far more than I would ever have imagined.

I’d like to mention that my running club ‘Stubbington Green Runners’ have been amazing and we had so much support from fellow members and friends on Sunday. If it wasn’t for the club, I would not have got my place to run London – running clubs are allocated so many places and I met the criteria and my name was pulled out of a hat at our awards night in November 2019 along with my friend Catrina who I ran with.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to donate to Alice’s Arc, the children’s cancer charity – the Just Giving page is still open if you would still like to donate.”

Clarke Willmott has a ‘match funding’ policy in place which helps employees when fundraising for charities that are close to their heart and on this occasion almost £250 was donated under this scheme.

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