Highgate Marathon runner joins the 830,000 Londoners planning an epic physical challenge after living through the Covid-19 pandemic


New research published today by Macmillan Cancer Support[i] reveals that the Covid-19 pandemic has turned us into a city of ambitious adventurers, with more than 830,000 people in London (12 per cent) [ii] planning to say ‘yes’ to taking part in an epic physical challenge, inspired by living through the Covid-19 pandemic. Across the UK, this rises to a total of 6 million people (13 per cent)[iii].

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Kate Marston and her partner Zack Case are both taking on challenges this year for Macmillan Cancer Support

Kate Marston, 26, from Highgate is taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon for the very first time this year for Macmillan Cancer Support and her partner, Zack Case, is also raising funds for the charity in the London Triathlon on 8th August.

Kate said:

“Three members of my family (my grandfather and two aunts) were diagnosed with cancer and through their experience, I’ve seen how the process of diagnosis extends well beyond the physical illness. The experience is made up of complete changes in perspective, working out where the values of life really lie and finding deep inner strength, which people never knew they had – and then sustaining and re-discovering that strength again and again over several months. Macmillan is there through all the anxiety of treatment which can be brutal and go on for years.”

“I will have my family at the forefront of my mind when running this event; whether it’s those we’ve lost, those in remission or those thankfully cured.”

“I grew up in Somerset and used to run around the hills there. Now that I’ve moved to Highgate, I’m often seen running up and down the heath, an amazing place to train, particularly during lockdown. The Macmillan online training has been really helpful, and I have received regular calls and emails which have been really encouraging.

“I’m so excited and simultaneously terrified about the Marathon in October but can’t wait to give it everything I’ve got. I genuinely think the work that Macmillan does is so inspiring, and I’m thrilled to be running for such a great cause.”

Of those in the UK who are taking on challenges this year, 72% will be doing at least one challenge for the very first time, with a third of first timers citing that they would have likely said no to the challenge before the pandemic (34%). In addition, almost one in five people in the UK (18%) are determined to tick off adventures on their bucket list as a result of the pandemic, or to even add one for the very first time.

The research also revealed that Gen Z (aged 18-24) are the most likely generation to say yes to a new challenge that they would have likely declined before the pandemic (14%), followed by 35-44-year-olds (7%).

Among the challenges that people in the UK want to take on for the first time this year, running – from 5km to a marathon – is at the top of the list (37%), followed by hill or mountain climbing and hiking (32%), walking (23%), and cycling (16%).

Just over one in three people taking on a challenge are doing so to embrace life more following the Covid-19 lockdowns (35%), whilst raising money for charity is another top reason (27%)[iv]. One in four (26%) plan to challenge themselves to ‘get out of a rut’ following the pandemic, and a similar number are looking to reconnect with other people (23%). One in nine (11%) plan to put themselves through an epic physical challenge this year in memory of a loved one.

Thousands of Virgin Money London Marathon participants will be training hard this month, as we are just weeks away from the highly anticipated return of the iconic event on Sunday 3rd October.

Macmillan Cancer Support is the official charity partner of this year’s event. #TeamMacmillan runners will be taking on the marathon to raise vital funds to help the charity be there for everyone living with cancer from day one, following the devastating impact Covid-19 has had on cancer care and Macmillan’s income.

Claire Rowney, Executive Director of Fundraising, Marketing and Innovation at Macmillan Cancer Support, said:

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on our income, at a time when people living with cancer need our support more than ever to help navigate through what continues to be an incredibly anxious period.

“We’re thrilled to be the official charity partner of this year’s event – the vital funds raised by our runners and supporters will help us continue to do whatever it takes so we can be there for everyone living with cancer from day one of their diagnosis.”

To donate go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KateMarston2 or visit www.londonmarathon.macmillan.org.uk . The funds raised by Team Macmillan runners and supporters will help Macmillan continue to provide vital support and do whatever it takes to be there for everyone, from day one of their cancer diagnosis.