I decided to run the London Marathon in 2017 as a way of thanking Mencap for their helping hand in getting me a job at Tesco.

I was part of the Shine employment programme, which is a 12-week course that supports people with a learning disability to find employment opportunities. I was given help to write my CV, prepare for interviews and attend work placements.

Having a job has given me much more confidence and allowed me to make lots of new friends. 

My fundraising journey

When I started fundraising for the London Marathon I wanted to raise the minimum target of £1,750. So, I set up a JustGiving webpage and used Facebook to share it with my friends and family, to let them know what I was doing and encourage them to donate. I also used Facebook Live to broadcast my training runs and keep people updated with my progress and fundraising events.

When my fundraising reached £3,800 I was delighted, as I wasn’t expecting to raise that much money. I made sure I increased the target on my JustGiving page so people would continue donating.

By the morning of the marathon I'd reached £5,000, and then raised another £1,000 on race day!

My fundraising advice

For anyone fundraising this year, I would recommend getting your local community involved with what you are doing.

For example, I organised discos at my local Walkabout club, and asked a pub to hold a fundraising night for me. I also got my employer, Tesco, involved and they organised a bag pack and tombola for me. They also topped up my fundraising, so in total I raised £7,200, which is amazing!

I also got fantastic support from Mencap’s Fundraising Team - if I needed anything, they helped to get it sorted.

Tips for training

I would recommend you start training as soon as possible, especially if you haven't done a marathon before.

I am currently running 10 miles during my training runs, in preparation for the 2018 marathon, and will start properly training at the end of December.

On the day

My last bit of advice is to enjoy race day! 

I felt really excited to be part of a crowd of 40,000 people taking on the challenge of a lifetime. The Mencap cheer points were also incredible, when you feel low they give you a boost to carry on.

Looking to 2018!

I entered the ballot for the 2018 London Marathon not expecting to get a place, but I recently found out that I have got a spot. I was really shocked as I didn't know whether I would do it again. 

However, with support from my running club and Mencap I am going to go for it and am aiming to get my personal best!

Find out more

If you fancy a challenge, there are plenty of events you can take part in and raise money for Mencap - not just the 2018 London Marathon.

You can also take a look at our Fundraising webpages to see some of the other ways you can help support Mencap and people with a learning disability.

If you'd like to sponsor Charlotte in her 2018 London Marathon challenge, please visit her Just Giving page.

If you have any questions, and would like to speak to someone in our Events Team please contact events@mencap.org.uk or 020 7696 6946.