St Albans runner tackling first marathon for people with facial disfigurements in Ethiopia

PUBLISHED: 09:31 10 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:31 10 April 2019

Emily Eldred is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Project Harar. Emily with one of the people who has been given surgery in Ethiopia. Picture: Submitted by Emily Eldred

Emily Eldred is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Project Harar. Emily with one of the people who has been given surgery in Ethiopia. Picture: Submitted by Emily Eldred

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A St Albans runner is squaring up to her first marathon to help people with disfigurements in Africa.

A before and after picture of a patient Project Harar has helped in Ethiopia. Picture: Submitted by Emily EldredA before and after picture of a patient Project Harar has helped in Ethiopia. Picture: Submitted by Emily Eldred

Emily Eldred has been training since late last year for the Virgin Money London Marathon, which she is running to raise money for Project Harar.

This charity works to bring treatment, rehabilitation, and reintegration services for children and young people with facial deformities in Ethiopia.

The 25-year-old runs with St Albans Striders and works-out in the pool with St Albans Masters Swimming Club.

She said: “I have actually really enjoyed the training - every time I go on a long run it is a new achievement, it is the longest I have ever done.

Emily Eldred is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Project Harar. Picture: Submitted by Emily EldredEmily Eldred is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Project Harar. Picture: Submitted by Emily Eldred

“It has been tough on my body though. It is tiring, trying to run those distances for the first time.”

Emily has worked for Project Harar as a programme officer for just over 18 months and has travelled to Ethiopia to see its work first-hand.

While in Africa, she also took the opportunity to train in the heat and high altitudes.

She would like to raise at least £2,000 for Project Harar, and has already collected nearly £1,500.

Emily Eldred is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Project Harar. She is with some of the people the charity has helped in Ethiopia. Picture: Submitted by Emily EldredEmily Eldred is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Project Harar. She is with some of the people the charity has helped in Ethiopia. Picture: Submitted by Emily Eldred

“We do surgery for people with facial disfigurements in Ethiopia, and they are often really isolated and feel really alone in their communities.

“They get bullied at school and because they can’t eat properly they are not included in community events.

“But when they get surgery, they go back to their communities and are confident and accepted and it saves some of their lives.”

The St Albans High School for Girls alumna has run half marathons in the past three years, but this will be her first 26 mile challenge.

Emily Eldred is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Project Harar. Emily travelled to Ethiopia to meet some of the patients the charity has helped. Picture: Submitted by Emily EldredEmily Eldred is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Project Harar. Emily travelled to Ethiopia to meet some of the patients the charity has helped. Picture: Submitted by Emily Eldred

She said: “I am a mix between really excited and really nervous. I was really excited when I got a place at the London Marathon because it is the most amazing marathon with an amazing atmosphere.

“I am really looking forward to just being there and crossing the finish line and raising as much money as I can for Project Harar.”

The Virgin Money London Marathon will take place on April 28, winding through central London and finishing by Buckingham Palace.

Sponsor Emily at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/emily-eldred

Find out more about Project Harar at www.projectharar.org

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