Walderslade woman takes on a first in France for HOLG

A runner from Walderslade is getting ready to take part in her first Paris Marathon on 2nd April to raise money for HOLG.

Jacqui Sharrad, 51, has previously cheered from the side-lines as her friends took part in the event in the French capital five years ago but decided to take the plunge and enter the run herself in 2023. She set a target of £500 but has already gone past that ahead of the weekend’s run.

Having spent many an hour on her treadmill, it was 2015 when Jacqui’s husband Jon suggested taking their running outside by joining the Medway Runners’ Running Club. She has since run in several events to raise money for charity but this will be her first in support of HOLG. Jacqui decided to support us having come across our work in her previous role working with Early Help, where she referred many families for our services.

Training is progressing well and Jacqui has recently been tapering down her distances in accordance with the intermediate marathon programme she has been following, slowly decreasing from 18miles to 15, 13 and 12 before running the full distance on the day.

Although her husband was unable to sign up for the marathon due to injury, Jacqui is taking part alongside two other friends and will be travelling with a group of nine in total.

Jacqui comments, “I’ve run quite a few races before but this is only my third marathon and will likely be my last. Although I run weekly, I wouldn’t say I’m an avid runner so the training has been pretty hard work. In fact, my family were really surprised that I’m doing another marathon as I’ve been quite prone to injury!

“I’m really looking forward to it; the atmosphere should be great. We’re hoping for mild weather, though – when I supported friends a few years ago, it was so hot, they were using fire hoses to cool people down!

“In terms of goals for the event, my friends are aiming for under 3.5 hours but anything below five hours will be great for me. I want to raise a good amount for HOLG, too. They’re a local charity, which is important and they always came up at work when we were looking for support for families so I know what amazing help they provide.”

If you’d like to support Jacqui, visit her Just Giving page.