"If I can inspire someone else to take part in the marathon next year then that is amazing." Joe's Story I am going to be running the virtual London marathon for Hestia on Sunday, 4th October 2020. This year has been a bit of an odd one for marathon training. Initially I signed up to run the race on the original date in April. I had 2 and a half months to train which was a very tight schedule to begin with. However, due to COVID-19, the date was pushed back to October. I was really hoping that we could run it on Sunday with all the crowds, but it’s just not safe and the London Marathon without the crowds just wouldn’t have been the same. Donate to Joe's fundraiser now I would have struggled to do the marathon virtually on my own, so I am doing it with my running mate Hannah. Back in April I took part in the 2.6 challenge which was specifically set up to help UK charities fundraise in these difficult times and in lieu of the fundraising from the London Marathon. I ran 26 laps around my local park and it was so boring. This time though, Hannah and I are going to be running up and down our local cycle track in Devon and members of our running club and family will be running or cycling sections with us or simply just cheering us on. The thing we are looking forward to most after the race is heading straight to the pub for a pint, and some cake! I have been running almost every day this year so far; I started on 6th January. I will probably go for a run the day after the marathon, and every day after, including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day. There is no way I can miss these key dates when I will be so close to a year! This is only my second marathon and it will be the fifth time that I have ever run 20 miles, but if I can inspire someone else to run at all or even take part in the marathon next year then that is amazing. There was a long time where I didn’t run. When I was 17 and 18 I ran a lot but I didn’t really enjoy it. When you are that age, it is the choice between running or going to the pub with your mates and I obviously chose the pub. I didn’t take it seriously and only started running again about two years ago and taking it seriously this year. My biggest running inspiration is my one of my best mates Ben. When we were younger, I was always seen as the ‘runner’ of the group and Ben was the rugby player. 10 years ago he started running and he has just completely transformed. He is a coach as well now so he gives me tips all the time. My top tip would be to run without music as it gives you space to clear your head, which is especially important during these difficult times. When I am not running I work as a Data Analyst. Last year we helped at Hestia’s Big Day Out event where we showed those Hestia support how to code. Everyone got involved - the kids, the parents and the volunteers. It was heart-warming to see everyone trying something new, something that I’ve shown them, and enjoying it. I’m running for Hestia because the teams I’ve worked with are so committed and inspiring. When we were looking at charities to partner with through work, we wanted one that was local so that we could see the difference we were making. This along with the work that Hestia does is so broad and impactful. No matter who you are, you could be in crisis at some point in your life, and Hestia could be there to help. Which film has impacted me the most? "Cool Runnings. Simple really and the way I like to live my life. Don’t worry about what people think of you, if you want to achieve something - you can." Which song has impacted me the most? "The Cinematic Orchestra, To Build a Home. Losing anyone in life is hard but when it is someone totally unexpected it’s even worse. Cherish everything you have as we won’t be here forever." Which book has impacted me the most? "Any of the Jack Reacher Novels by Lee Child. For anyone that knows me this will be a bit of a cliché as it’s all I read. Reacher may not always go about things in the most correct manner but the morals he lives his life by is something we could all learn a little more from." Donate to Joe's fundraiser now Read more like this Isaac's* Story: "I met my support worker; he changed my life" Juliet's Story: "Nobody is exempt from having a mental health condition" Anna's* Story: I told a friend what had been happening and she said 'pack a bag and leave now, just get out'"