A marathon effort for Newham Hospital
Every year, Catriona would spend 8 hours cheering on the London Marathon runners. This year, she wasn't able to – because she was too busy running the Marathon herself! Ahead of the marathon, Catriona, the Quality Improvement Manager at Newham Hospital, told us why she is taking on the iconic London Marathon to raise funds for the staff and patients in her hospital.
Catriona London Marathon Barts Charity
Catriona at the London Marathon

Why spend hours every year cheering on complete strangers?
I just find the London Marathon so joyful. It’s a way of seeing families pull together and seeing so many amazing people of all different strengths pull through. You meet loads of people there, so you kind of end up with this party atmosphere, you meet the people who are cheering on some relative and people who are like me – just a local person.

I was on the Mall, just at the last bit of the Marathon and I would stay right to the end, cheering on the people coming in after everyone else, because they’re the people who need it most, you know? I would keep looking at their vests and trying to figure out their names so I could call out to them personally – I found that helped them get through the hardest part of the race. I would lose my voice every year.

I never, ever thought I would be running myself. Never. I always thought, ‘They’re amazing, I can’t believe they’ve done it,’ but I never saw myself being one of them.

When I started, I couldn't even run for five minutes without feeling physically sick.

Catriona

Quality Improvement Manager at Newham Hospital

So what made you lace up the trainers?
One year, my cousin ran the London Marathon to raise money for multiple sclerosis (MS) after my other cousin died from MS. Seeing his journey through the London Marathon has been very positive for me, because I thought he’d never make it! But he did. He’s been very motivational. And then my brother, secretly, ran a marathon last year in Dublin. He never told anyone, and then he got a really good time! He’s really influenced me.

I think it was in April 2017, I started running. When I started, I couldn’t even run for five minutes without feeling physically sick. I think that a lot of people think that running can’t be for them, and it can be. I’m proof of that. By the August, I started setting myself challenges, like running the Santa Run for Barts Charity. Once every month, I would do my own half-marathon. I did one of the official half-marathons shortly after that. I learnt a lot from that experience, but those last 200 yards…

I remember saying to the pacer, “I need help. I think I’m actually going to die!”

She said, “If you’re still talking, you can keep going.”

And I went, “Oh my god, I’m a nurse, of course I’m okay!”

The hardest part is getting up to do the run. I do 6 miles on a Saturday and 6 miles on a Sunday but that first moment of getting up and getting dressed is still really hard, to this day. But once I’m out, and at the first mile, I love it. I feel it really recharges my batteries. 

london marathon race day
Catriona on race day

Why run for Barts Charity?
Helping the doctors and nurses at Newham is one of my passions, so I love to raise money to support them and their hard work. I’ve seen how amazing the redevelopment of the Rainbow Centre has been for the staff there. Every time I go down there, I see all these happy faces – happy patients and happy staff. This sort of project can completely change a landscape and change the clinical outcomes for children and families.

I think that a lot of the time people want to donate, but they don’t see the fruition of their donations when they give to a giant organisation. When you donate to Barts Charity, then you can actually see those changes in your ward, in your area. You get to see your local hospital move forward.

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