Sunday, 21 April 2024
Sunday, 21 April 2024

Fundraiser, 76, to pound Basingstoke Streets in virtual London Marathon

FANCY cheering on a London Marathon runner, but can’t be bothered to leave the confines of Basingstoke? Then the challenge being undertaken by 76-year-old fundraiser Lin Hilson, who lives in the town, could be your ideal compromise.

Lin, a retired office worker, is running a ‘virtual’ London Marathon, on Sunday, 21 April, by covering 26 miles and 385 yards around the streets of Basingstoke at the same time as an estimated 50,000 runners complete the course in the capital.

Like many of those setting off from Greenwich Park, Lin is looking to raise funds for charity as she darts around Basingstoke – in her case, it’s for Armed Forces charity Help for Heroes.

It’s not the first time she has challenged herself to help UK veterans, as she explained:

“I started running and powerwalking when I was 59. Before that I did a lot of cycling with Rex, my husband – including the London-to-Brighton ride on a tandem; we still have a tandem now – though there’s a bit of a height difference: he’s six-foot and I’m five-foot, but I push him up hills as I’m on the back.

“I’ve done three London Marathons – including one for Help for Heroes – with the last one in 2012. I always wanted to do the London Marathon. Ever since I got my place I’ve been running. I’ve also done the Great North and Great South Runs, the Chiltern Challenge, and managed 50km on the Thames Path.

“I ran my first virtual marathon last year and got the bug for it. I have a 13-mile route, then back to home, top up my water, and then repeat the same run.”

Lin feels it’s hugely important we support our Armed Forces veterans – and not just because Rex was in the Army.

She added:

“Rex spent 24 years with the REME and that’s why I chose to run in aid of Help for Heroes. The Charity really gets to me, because veterans need so much, and they get so little. It’s not fair on our veterans – they’ve done so much for us and get so little back in return. It’s my passion to do it for them.

“Rex was out in the Gulf War and also went out to the Falklands after a spell in Belize. He’s been about a bit, my husband.

“I don’t have a fundraising target. It would be lovely to reach £1,000, but times are hard. It’s very difficult for people to dig deep, but my neighbours and friends have always been very generous.

“Every time I go out, I tell myself that’s it; no more, it’s hurting my back, my knees are playing up, but I’ll carry on running and fundraising just as long as my body will let me.”

The charity’s Senior Fundraising Manager, Sarah Whattam, said:

“We’re very grateful that Lin has, once again, chosen to support us as we look to help our veterans. Not only is she an inspiration but she’s also a genuinely lovely lady and we wish her well.”

Help for Heroes champions the Armed Forces community and helps them live well after service. The charity helps them, and their families, to recover and get on with their lives. It has already supported more than 30,000 people and won’t stop until every veteran gets the support they deserve.

The charity supports veterans, and their families, from any branch of the UK military – regulars or reserves – irrespective of length or place of service, and locally embedded civilians (and their families) who worked alongside our Armed Forces.

To support Lin Hilson on her virtual London marathon around Basingstoke, please visit: bit.ly/49Jtw4u. To get support, please visit: helpforheroes.org.uk.

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