03 November 2019
Sharon Clarke, 43, from Lisburn is running the 2019 New York Marathon. Here’s why she chose to take part.
“Health and fitness have been a big part of my life for 10 – 15 years. When I was younger I was overweight and so I set myself the physical and mental challenge to lose weight. I started doing some running and about 8 years ago I took part in the Belfast Marathon Relay, I was only supposed to do the first leg but I just keep running and when I asked someone haw far I’d ran I was at 19 miles so at that point I had to cross the finish line! That was the first time I had ran a marathon and because I wasn’t properly registered I got no official time or recognitions so the next year I entered as a full marathon runner.
I left serious running behind after that as I got into competitive body building and took part in competitions for 5 years, winning a number of medals across a range of federations. I hadn’t run big distances in a couple of years and I was looking for a new challenge in 2019. I had been thinking about the New York Marathon when I heard that Action Cancer could provide places for supporters.
The gym I go to has been a fundraising partner of Action Cancer for a while so I was aware of the charity but didn’t really know much about the services it offers. When I went along to the information session I was so impressed at the amount of valuable work it does in the local community I didn’t have to think twice about signing up. I had fundraised before for a national charity and this time I wanted to put something back into the Northern Ireland Community a local one.
I find running very therapeutic, I have a high demanding job and am responsible for a lot of staff which I love but running is my release. I am a big advocate of keeping a healthy body and healthy mind. I am really motivated by the work Action Cancer does, I have lost close family members over the last couple of years from cancer and I know quite a few people whose families have been affected. It means a lot knowing I am working with a charity who supports families just like these.
The minimum fundraising target is £3,300 however I have set myself a personal target of raising £10,000. I have roped in a few people to help along the way –the support so far has been phenomenal! Some of the events I have held so far has included a charity bootcamp, entered a team into the Belfast marathon relay, and held a few collections. I work for Lloyds Banking Group who offer match funding so my fundraising is going fantastically well.
My big event is coming up on 26th May which is the Slieve Donard Trek with over 60 people getting involved. As I mentioned the support has been superb so I am very confident I will smash my £10,000 target. “
To join Sharon on this challenge of a life time get in touch with Leigh Osborne on 028 9080 3347 or email [email protected]