An Ilkeston woman is gearing up to run the London Marathon later this month, in a joint celebration of her birthday and a vital medical charity.
Christine Bamford, who has worked as a dispatcher in the East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS) for 18 years, is aiming to help save more lives when she laces up her trainers on Sunday, April 22.
She is hoping to fundraise £1,800 in support of St John Ambulance, its First Aid training programmes and voluntary event safety work.
Christine said: “St John Ambulance is a fantastic organisation. They are so keen to share their skills and make sure everyone knows first aid, and they regularly help us out if something happens at an event we are both covering.”
Christine’s role at EMAS involves dispatching ambulances to emergencies across Derbyshire, and in her time in the role she has regularly worked with St John Ambulance when covering football matches, Ashbourne’s Shrovetide, and other events.
Having only taken up running three years ago, the marathon is a daunting prospect for Christine, but she decided to face the challenge as part of her milestone birthday celebrations.
She said: “I really enjoy running and as I turn 50 this year I wanted to see if I could step it up and run my first, and only, marathon.
“I’m nervous about it, but I’m also really excited. I’m looking forward to having a big plate full of chips and steak afterwards.”
Christine began running using the NHS Couch to 5K app, which helps novices build up their endurance, and then gradually progressed to ten kilometre races, joined Notts Women Runners club and completed several half marathons.
Since being accepted for the 26-mile London race, she has been running three to four times a week to prepare.
Her partner and best friend will also travel to the capital to cheer her on.
So far, Christine has raised almost £1,000 of her target through a fashion show, a curry night and sponsorship.
She will be hosting another fashion show following the marathon to help raise a bit more cash for St John Ambulance, which will take place at 7pm on Thursday, May 3, at The Sportsman pub in Long Eaton. Tickets will be £5 on the door.
If you would like to donate to help Christine reach her target, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Christine-bamford3.
To learn more about the work of St John Ambulance, and how you can get involved, go to www.sja.org.uk.
If you are interested in following Christine’s example, download the Couch to 5K app from www.nhs.uk/Livewell.