St Albans cake costume runner aiming for marathon glory
PUBLISHED: 18:00 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:23 29 September 2020
The London Marathon should be a piece of cake for one St Albans runner...
Anna Bassil will be running 26.2 miles around the city while wearing a cake costume, as part of the virtual marathon event on October 4.
She explained how she came to participate in the run: “Just over a year ago, I was delighted to secure a place in the 2020 London Marathon, raising much needed funds for Save the Children.
“This was going to be a special event, I was about to turn 40, it was the 40th anniversary of the London Marathon and 100th anniversary of Save the Children and therefore I decided that I would run the event in a large celebration cake costume.
“In January I started to wear my costume on my long weekend training runs around the local area. This was fantastic for raising awareness for the charity and bringing smiles to people’s faces when they see a big cake running past, particularly through the difficult times of the past few months.”
But everything changed when the pandemic hit and the country went into lockdown. Although the April marathon was postponed to October, Anna continued her daily runs.
“I even completed my very own lockdown garden marathon – 402 laps of my garden over 6.5 hours which captured the interest of the national press! It was by far the hardest sporting activity I have completed in my life. I had prepared myself for the mental challenge of repeated circuits but I had not anticipated the additional physical demands that the twists and turns and section of gravel added to an already tough run.”
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With the virtual London Marathon looming, Anna is back running in a new cake costume around the local area to raise awareness of her efforts.
“I had to purchase a second as the first started to look a bit battered after all of the miles I have already completed wearing it! It is quite well suited to running, allowing me to move freely and is pretty lightweight so thankfully not too hot. It was sometimes a bit of a liability in the windy weather and storms in the spring though as it really increased the effort required!
“Marathon training is certainly not easy and very tiring. Since my application last May, I have run 1,250 miles – the equivalent distance between London and St Petersburg in Russia, or 47 marathons! There have been plenty of moments when I have just wanted to quit but then I remember why I am doing this – the children who need this support to stay healthy, protected and learn.”
The mother-of-two revealed how the work of Save the Children has been even more important during the pandemic: “Four million children are living in poverty in the UK and this number is likely to rise due to the coronavirus outbreak. Save the Children’s UK programme focuses on narrowing the education gap between children living on low-incomes and their better off peers.
“The pandemic has illuminated the underlying fragility of family support and household budgets, putting even more families on the brink of poverty so Save the Children has expanded its UK programme to incorporate a COVID-19 emergency response to help support children in the UK to stay safe, healthy and keep learning.”
She is hoping to boost her fundraising efforts in the days leading up to her marathon, which will finish up in Verulamium Park. So far she has collected more than £5,400 towards her £7,500 target.
Anna, who is now 41 and works as a research scientist for GlaxoSmithKline, added: “Anything donated towards my goal is truly appreciated. Thank you to all those who have supported me so far. I have received an overwhelming amount of support and positivity from people when they see me in my costume.
Visit fundraising page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/annabassilmarathon or see The St Albans Cake page on Facebook. All donations are matched by GlaxoSmithKline.
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