Vicky meets... Jenette Whitfield, runner and fundraiser

Marathon challenge
Marathon challenge

Deciding to run the London Marathon for CLIC Sargent after hearing that the 11-year-old daughter of friends had been diagnosed with Leukaemia, Jenette and husband Andy have been training hard.

“She had been in our daughter’s class since reception and as with everyone who knew the family, it was a shock. CLIC Sargent is a charity that supports children and young people who have been diagnosed with cancer as well as their families. From diagnosis, they put in a package of care and this can include ‘homes from home’ which provide a home setting within the hospital whilst the children are receiving treatment by are not well enough to be at home. They also campaign to the government for financial support to be given to families as invariably, at least one parent has to give up work,” explained Jenette.

“This is the second child we have known to have been struck down with cancer and helped by CLIC. Back in 2015, another friend’s baby son was diagnosed with it just before his first birthday. Thankfully, he has won his battle but our friends’ beautiful girl is still fighting.”

And having set their minds to it, the determined couple have so far raised over £1,400.

“We recently held a charity 80s disco for friends and that raised over £500,” said Jenette, who admitted to being slightly anxious about the challenge ahead.

“Neither of us has run a marathon before. I started running 3 years ago and am now a member of Chichester Runners as well as an event director for Chichester junior parkrun. Despite a few niggles – to be expected at our age – it is all going well. We wear our charity vests for training and that is a great motivator; whenever I glance down it makes me think about why I am doing this. Running a marathon is hard but it is nothing compared to what those poor little things go through. I get sore feet and achy hips. It’s nothing.”

And while it is a challenge to fit in work, two children and training, Jenette is optimistic. “Even when it is cold I enjoy running, and I’m eating for England!” she laughed.

“I’m slightly worried about what they call ‘the wall,’ which is what you hit at approximately 20 miles when you have nothing left in the tank and your legs won’t move, but everyone reassures me that the adrenalin and the crowd’s support get you through.”

Everyone I know who has run a marathon ends up being well and truly bitten by the bug. Will London be the first of many for Jenette?

“I always said I would only ever do one and that it would be London because it is so iconic, but I can see me becoming a marathon addict,” she confessed, a gleam in her eye suggesting that she’ll be crossing a few more finishing lines before she hangs up her trainers…

Find Team Whitfield’s London Marathon on Facebook or sponsor Jenette and Andy at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/andrew-whitfield3