A MOTHER of three admits she is going back on an 12-year promise by running this year's London Marathon.
Polly Woodford, 42, of Rosaline Road, Fulham, completed the gruelling 26-mile road race back in 1999 and, after crossing the finish line, promised her mum she would never take it on again.
But the death of close family friend Jenny Redhead, 67, last November has inspired her to dust off her running shoes and go again.
Mrs Redhead was a volunteer at the Fulham Good Neighbour Service which has helped elderly or disabled residents or those with mental health issues in the borough since 1966.
Volunteers at the charity provide essential services to residents including helping with shopping or odd jobs.
As a result, Mrs Woodford set a target of £1,000 to raise for the charity but has been blown away by donations that currently see her fundraising kitty set at £4,000 and rising.
She said: "I am not as fit as I was five years ago and I may well end up in the TV highlights programme as one of the comedy late-night finishers, but I am going to do since I have waited this long for another go.
"Jenny has left a gap in all of our lives and I am running in her memory. The charity could be said to sum up all that was good about Jenny - supportive, caring, generous, inclusive and loving.
"I ran the marathon in 1999, three week's before I was married, but now feel about 650 years older. I crossed the line and promised my mum I would never put myself through it again but here I am."
Mrs Woodford's said her three children, aged 11, nine and seven, all attend All Saints' Primary School are 'scared' about her taking part.
She said: "They think I am mad or am just going to drop down or something. But I have been training two or three times a week.
"When you have three children, the last thing you want to do when you have a spare couple of hours is go for a run. But I have been quite disciplined.
"Saying that, though, I have taken my Oyster card out with me in case I get knackered and need to jump on the bus. I am proud to say I have only used it once.
"It sounds so corny but it is about challenging yourself and the feeling if you achieve it is amazing."
Are you preparing to take on the London Marathon and need a final fundraising push. Call Greg Burns on 07795 800083 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.