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Liz Runs London for Mini Mermaids

£1,690 of £1,000 goal

Raised by 80 people in 2 months
Created April 5, 2019
The 28th of April marks the 38th running of the Virgin Money London Marathon. More than 40,000 people are expected to line-up in Greenwich that morning.

Amongst all those participants will be the fintastic Liz Adams, one of our volunteer coaches from Leeds. Not only will Liz take on the 26.2 mile course, but she’s also raising money for Mini Mermaid Running Club UK (MMRCUK). YEAH!

MMRCUK, for girls age 7-11, uses physical activity combined with mindfulness to strengthen girls’ self-esteem and resilience at a critical developmental point/time in their lives. 

Our programmes, which comprise discussions, journal work, games, activities and structured workouts, create a fun, safe, confidence-building environment. The programmes culminates with a 5km challenge (maybe you've seen some of our Mini Mermaids at your local parkrun!) 

Girls who participate in Mini Mermaids show increased resilience, confidence and well-being and are more comfortable moving their bodies. This positivity permeates all aspects of their lives, from social interactions and school to long-term goals and aspirations.

The funds raised by Liz will help us bring more programmes to areas of need in the UK. Good luck to Liz! Find your Happy Pace and have a great run!
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A MESSAGE FROM LIZ!

Welcome to Marathon Weekend! Since February, training has gone pretty smoothly and I’ve been loving it. The overwhelming feeling is one of excitement and gratitude that – barring some random, unexpected event between now and Sunday – I’ll be toeing the London marathon start line for the first time in several years.
More than 12 years on from my first ever “You’re in!” Magazine came through the letterbox, the London Marathon still evokes same slightly nauseating excitement in me.
In 2011, London saw my fastest marathon time. That year, I stayed with a great buddy from school, Sarah. As she lived in Greenwich, I had possibly the most relaxed journey to the start line of any of the thousands congregating on Blackheath (I’ve just about forgiven her for moving away). She was pregnant and overdue by several days. If the need arose, permission had been granted for an ambulance to cross the course route – the only way of it reaching her home. Being a good friend, I gave her strict instructions to keep her legs firmly crossed until I’d passed by the 6-mile mark. The pb will always be in part due to her and her daughter’s impeccable timing, for which I am eternally grateful. Happy 8th birthday, Tess.
2012 was a bit different. While the build up was the same, The Cold to End All Colds scuppered that one. My race ended somewhere in the depths of Docklands. I took the DLR of Shame back to the finish line with other DNFs, where officials directed us around to the back of the baggage busses to collect our kit, away from the clanking of medals and the distribution of goody bags to the exhausted and happy finishers on the other side.
So, London is a special one for me, for so many reasons. It will be a privilege to experience it, whatever happens on the day.
Just two days to go until this shared experience with 40,000 other runners. 40,000 kindred spirits, in it together. All the things we go through as part of our shared human experience, they’re all there in the marathon. Hope, tenacity, bravery, disappointment, pain, elation, pride, generosity, kindness, support, connection. Not trusting a fart in the latter stages…(sorry, couldn’t resist that one).
It is life distilled down to its purest, rawest form and I love it.
***
There are only a couple of short runs left to do, one of which will be in full race day kit. I like to imagine that the fancy-dress runners are doing the same, and all around the country there are rhinos, dinosaurs and bananas venturing out for an easy jog around the block.
Any spare time is being filled by listening to podcasts (Marathon Talk tops my list) and favourite music to have in my head as I run (no headphones; just in my head. I visualise running strong, smooth and relaxed whilst I listen. Feel free to send me your top running tunes to listen to as I head to London on the train on Friday morning, munching on my bag of salty pretzels.
I’m a sporadic user of the excellent meditation app Headspace. The ‘Competition’ pack in the Sports section is invaluable for finding a calm focus and keeping the nervous energy in check. Now that the physical training is done, all that remains is to cultivate a strong mindset.
All of this taper week activity is punctuated by regular applications of hand wash gel and near-obsessive checking of the weather app (looking favourably cool at the moment). I’m all packed and looking forward to a fab weekend of catching up with friends, a little run, and then meeting up with everyone in the pub afterwards.
***
Running has been going fairly well recently, but it hasn’t always been this way. Over the past couple of years, my breathing would sometimes get panicky mid-run. My throat would go tight, I’d start wheezing and my lungs felt like they’d shrunk to half their usual size. I told myself that this was due to some physical reason (which it may have been, in part). But rather, every episode was preceded by negative, anxious thoughts that I struggled to contain before they escalated and ran riot in my mind. It is amazing how the transference of thought to manifestation of physical symptoms in the body can be almost instantaneous. I’d stop to regain my composure and my breath, muttering apologies between gasps to my concerned and endlessly patient club mates. Despite their kindness, I felt embarrassed about it. I loved their company, but I started going on more runs on my own, for fear of it happening again. Before I ever formally met Mini Mermaid and Siren, I experienced my own internal battles with these two forces.
Cue Mini Mermaids.
My Valley Striders pal (and all-round amazing person) Hannah Corne brought Mini Mermaids Running Club to the UK. I started coaching and was struck by the curriculum’s content. In the beautifully-designed 6-week programme, it taught girls aged 7-11 how to manage difficult thoughts, and much more besides. Every single time I teach it to the girls, it serves as a valuable reminder for me, too.
Through a series of activities, we find ways of flipping the mind/body connection to work for us, not against us. The girls learn to question any message – from their own heads, from those around them, from social media – that makes them doubt themselves (all classic ‘Siren’ voice stuff).
They learn to recognise that the thoughts they have are not facts. They pause, breathe, acknowledge how they’re feeling, stretch. Gradually, the volume on their ‘Mini Mermaid’ voice is turned up. This is the voice that says: yes, you can do it. Just do your best. It might feel hard, but you’ll get there. They discover that their minds can be their greatest ally and are better equipped to realise their full potential and to help others do the same.
As the weeks go by, it’s a joy to see them blossom. By the time they take on their 5km challenge, they know to move at their own pace, to love moving their bodies, not to compare themselves to others and that they can push through their discomfort to achieve more than they thought they could.
I will be trying to remember all of this myself on Sunday.
***
I owe a massive thank you to a long list of special people (if this was an Oscars speech, they’d be signalling the orchestra to strike up and escorting me off the stage at this point…):
Friends and family. Marathon training means you don’t always see everyone as much as you’d like – I apologise if it’s been a while. I’m looking forward to catching up with you properly, in person, and ideally sat opposite each other with a pint in our hands.
My Valley Striders clubmates, a truly inspiring bunch who have become so much more than just running pals over the years.
The professionals who’ve got me to this point in one piece: Louisa at Coach House physiotherapy, Jim Mason sports massage, Nicky Green at the Running and Movement Studio.
Everyone who has donated. Your generosity has been genuinely touching. You have smashed the fundraising target (the total is £1270 at the time of writing). Who knows what impact you will have on the lives of the girls who - thanks to you - will be able to go through the programme? And the knock-on effect this will have on the lives of their families and friends? An exciting thought.
This will be at the forefront of my thoughts on Sunday. You will be helping me round.
If you’d like to donate, the link is here: http://bit.ly/2I1lWcK
If you’d like to track me on the day, my number is 28163.
I’ll let you know how it goes.
Liz x
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£1,690 of £1,000 goal

Raised by 80 people in 2 months
Created April 5, 2019
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