Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Marathon for Clara - April's Edinburgh Marathon challenge

Andy Hopkinson | 20th May 2022

A Bolton mum is taking on the Edinburgh Marathon for us later this month in memory of her beautiful goddaughter Clara and to fight back against the disease that took her life

April running Edinburgh Marathon for Meningitis Now

April Prendergast, 38, had aimed to raise £1,000 towards our lifesaving and life-changing work but, thanks to the generosity of supporters, she’s already smashed that target and is hoping for £1,500.

She told us: “We lost our beautiful goddaughter Clara to meningitis when she was just 10 months old in 2010.

“I want to raise awareness of this devastating illness in her memory by running the Edinburgh Marathon. I hope to raise funds for Meningitis Now to help with the incredible work they do to support those with meningitis, their families and friends.

Mustn’t wait for the rash

“I want people to know that they mustn't wait for the rash, they must trust their instinct and know the signs and symptoms. Clara never developed a rash and didn't receive the help she needed in time.

“We miss her every single day and our hearts ache with sadness. Nothing will bring her back, but we can continue to raise awareness in her memory.”

April started to enjoy running during lockdown. “It was mainly for the escapism it gave me from the pandemic,” she said. 

The perfect challenge 

And it’s not the first time that April has taken on a running challenge in Clara’s memory. The mum of two, who works in finance, said: “I was delighted when I managed to do a sponsored 10km run for Clara in 2019, but the more of it I did, the more I wanted to do, so at the end of 2021 I decided a marathon would be the perfect challenge!”

If everything goes to plan on the day she hopes to complete the marathon in 4 hours 30 mins. 

In preparation she’s been training hard with her amazing personal trainer Jacky, aka JakAttak Fitness, based in Edgworth, Bolton and Bret Parker, who is the leader of her local running club "We Run Edgworth". This has involved three runs a week, a personal training session and a cross training session.

Support and encouragement

“I couldn't have done this without their support and encouragement,” April added, “nor the fantastic support from my husband Garreth and my two amazing little girls Rosie, 7, and Eloise, 5. 

“They have all been fantastic in supporting me through my marathon journey and recently came along to cheer me on at the Blackpool Half Marathon.”

The marathon is part of the Edinburgh Marathon Festival taking place over the weekend of Saturday and Sunday 28 and 29 May, covering everything from a Kids’ Kilometre for 3 to 6 year-olds, all the way up to the full 26.2 mile marathon course. It takes in some of Edinburgh’s most iconic landmarks as well as offering picturesque views along the East Lothian coastline. 

You can support April’s efforts by visiting her Just Giving page, Marathon for Clara.

Fantastic effort

Joanne Wilson, our Events Fundraiser, said: “We’d like to thank April for this fantastic effort and all she does to support our work.

“We rely on the generosity, energy and initiative of our supporters to raise the vital funds we need to carry out our lifesaving and life-changing work.

“Her efforts will make a real difference to those who are at risk from meningitis and those whose lives have already been changed forever because of it.”

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