Kind-hearted Dee Mason has been pounding the Loscoe pavements in a bid to prepare for her upcoming London Marathon bid.
The 51-year-old of Flamstead Avenue, is gearing up to take on the gruelling 26.2-mile challenge to raise cash for MACS – the UK’s national charity for children born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes.
The mother-of-two is set to achieve a life-long goal to take part in the event on April 23, and has watched it every year on television.
She said: “I watch it every year and it always makes me emotional. I really enjoy watching people make their dream of completing it come true. I have always wanted to do it, but it is certainly a big ask – it takes a lot of hard work, and with two young sons time to dedicate to training has always been hard.
“But this year I decided it was time. What better way to get fit and healthy, and set yourself a great challenge, whilst also raising money for an amazing charity – it is a win-win situation.
“But I couldn’t have got to where I am now without the support and help of my running friends – we’re in it together.”
Dee, will be joined at the starting line, by four of her Smalley Road Runner Club members Donna Lancaster, Rachael Shelbourne, James Jackson, Shane Daley and Ian Hartshorne.
Dee, who works at Derby Garden Centre and will be sponsored £10 per mile by bosses, has always enjoyed running but began to take it more seriously after joining the club last April.
When she turned 50, she decided to run a half marathon and too part in the Derby 10k and the Ramathon. But Dee wasn’t quite ready to hang up her trainers, and was determined to complete the ‘big one’ in London.
She said: “Lots of group members entered to run the marathon, but missed out on the ballot. Undeterred from the challenge, we decided to do it for charity and have been training hard together.”
Training certainly hasn’t been walk in the park – it has been a real labour of love says Dee.
“It’s definitely been intense, we started out doing three to five mile runs a few times a week and a seven-mile run at the weekend, with each weekend seeing a boost in mileage. In addition to that I have been doing spin classes and sessions with a personal trainer to help build my muscles up.
“I’ve got a twisted knee and the standard aches and pains as you would expect, but we tape ourselves up and keep on going.
“I have also had to eat more to keep my energy up and drink green juices to help boost vitamins – it is more than just a bit of running. It takes real determination and dedication to get your body ready for such a big challenge.”
But Dee knows all the sacrifices and hard work will pay off.
“I hope I’ll feel fulfilled when I cross the finish line. I’ve spent most of the year so far thinking about miles and sometimes it does make me feel selfish that I haven’t had as much time to spend with my family and dedicate time to them however, when I think about the poor children without sight, I know it’s all for a good cause.
“And once I have finished the marathon I will get back to enjoying quality time with my family.”
Dee hopes to raise £1,350 for MACS, which she says is relatively ‘under-the-radar’ charity.
“The charity isn’t as well-known as others, but the work they do is absolutely amazing and deserves recognition and support.”
Dee has also hosted a string of fundraisers to drum up the sponsorship including a raffle with donated prizes from many local companies. She said: “I just want to thank everyone who has supported me, my husband Steve, mother-in-law Pam and family, friends, fellow runners and my colleagues – I couldn’t have got to this point without you and I hope to do you all proud.”
To donate visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Dorindamason.