Long Sutton mum to run virtual London Marathon in parts of South Holland
A Long Sutton mum-of-two is to run her own version of the London Marathon around part of South Holland next month.
On the same day, Sunday, October 4, when an estimated 43,000 runners should have been tackling the 26.2 mile course around the capital's streets, Imogen Varnham (30) will be doing the same thing here to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK.
Imogen, who is married to husband Grant, with sons Jesse (five) and Jaxon (two), lost her grandmother Dorothy Delahoy and four other relatives to the condition, which is the 11th most common form of cancer in the UK, according to the charity.
Part of London Marathon organisers' The 40th Race – Your Way challenge, instead of runners setting out from the city's Blackheath area, Imogen and thousands of others will have just under 24 hours to run, jog or walk 26.2 miles on a course of their choice.
Imogen said: "I've done lots of test runs to see where it would be safe to go and I'm starting from my house in London Road, Long Sutton, at 9am on October 4.
"Then I'll be working my way out towards Lutton, Gedney, Fleet and Holbeach, while trying to run past places that were significant to my nan.
"She was incredibly kind to everybody, very beautiful and I'll always remember her big brown eyes."
Imogen is also motivated by the knowledge that she was found to be a genetic carrier of pancreatic cancer after tests at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge seven years ago.
She said: "Pancreatic cancer is in our family and it's a virtual death sentence if you get it.
"The symptoms are quite vague so early testing is important to raise more awareness of the symptoms, quicker diagnosis and a more conclusive way of fighting this awful cancer."
Imogen is hoping to raise at least £2,500 for Pancreatic Cancer UK who works includes research into the chances of improving the survival rate, which is currently at just seven per cent, the lowest of all common cancers.
"The charity has been really, really good in giving me the chance to do the virtual London Marathon on October 4, then run the actual race in April 2023.
"I can continue raising money until then and so I'm asking anyone who wants to run with me, in a socially distanced way, to pledge a minimum donation of £5.
"I'm also hoping that people will come out and support me along the route."
Imogen started her marathon training in autumn 2019 ahead of the traditional event date of late April, postponed due to COVID-19.
The London Marathon was then rescheduled for October, but continuing concerns about the pandemic forced organisers to plan three races for elite athletes and wheelchair paraathletes only.
Imogen said: "Training has been really tough but I'm looking forward to it and I just want to do as much as I can to help Pancreatic Cancer UK."
To sponsor Imogen, go to uk.virginmoneygiving.com and then search under her name .