This will be my first marathon; for many years running a marathon was something I aspired to but just as quickly dismissed, as I have never been a natural long-distance runner, preferring to keep my runs to a (much more appealing) 5k maximum.  
 
However, seeing my sister run her second Brighton Marathon last year inspired me to finally take the plunge. Watching her, along with other friends of mine who were running, and the thousands of others, gave me an enormous sense of pride and admiration. I signed up for 2017 within minutes of Angela crossing the finish line in 2016. She was initially annoyed that it had taken me so long as she had tried to convince me to join her on two occasions!  

The next day I had mixed feelings: on the one hand I was thinking "what have I done?" but on the other I was excited and proud to know I would be running in support of Martlets and in memory of our mum, Sheila.  
  
Martlets has been a charity that has meant something to me for as long as I can remember. As a child, I knew the name before I knew what it was! When mum would do a big spring clean, I would help her load the car with clothes, furniture and bric-a-brac to take to the Martlets shops as donations.  

As I grew up, I came to understand what the charity does and why it is so important to so many of us. It was something that my mum saw great value in, although we didn't know back then how much she would come to depend on it herself. Then, when she was told that she had months to live, it was fitting that she would spend her last few weeks and days being looked after by the Martlets team. 
  
I have wanted to raise money for Martlets for a while and my first marathon is a perfect opportunity for me to raise as much as possible, through donations from my friends and work colleagues. Lots of them know how significant Brighton is to me as my hometown, and for my many friends in Brighton and Hove, Martlets is well-known for its hard work in the community. I was hopeful that my sister and I could raise a healthy sum but I have been happily surprised by how quickly that total has gone up already after just a few weeks.   
 
Now, with race day fast approaching, I am more excited than ever. Training is going well and I am even enjoying it.  

When it gets tough, I remind myself of my deepest motivation: I think it would make my mum proud. 

Proud of my achievement as a personal goal, but also proud that I have managed to contribute to a cause that was so important to her. 

Read Andrew's sister Angela's blog on why she keeps running Marathon's for their mum

If you would like to donate to Andy and Angela's fundraiser  please do so via their Just Giving Page