TIK Tok sensation, Sophie Liard, the internationally renowned ‘The Folding Lady’, has raised over £8,000 by conquering this year’s TCS London Marathon to support Friends of the Elderly, the charity which runs care homes, day care services and a grant-giving service for older people living in poverty throughout England.
Sophie chose Friends of the Elderly as her cause due to her strong family ties with the charity, and when she learned of the charity’s grant-giving service for vulnerable older people, she decided it was the perfect cause to run the demanding 26.2 miles for.
Sophie started her gruelling training programme back in September 2022 and with help and guidance from her trainer, Sophie Bankes, all her hard work, endurance and commitment paid off as she completed the iconic marathon in six hours and 55 seconds.
“I’ve mentioned before that Friends of the Elderly has always been a charity close to my heart as my Mum, Gran and Aunt have all worked for the charity. In fact, my Aunt, Cheryl Rothschild, is currently the charity’s Director of Care Homes, and my Gran, Ann Essam is an Activities Co-ordinator at Friends of the Elderly’s Redcot residential care home in Haslemere.”
Talking about her epic achievement, Sophie continued:
“As I crossed the Start Line, I didn’t go fast off, I just kept to my pace. When I was about two miles into the course, I felt good – especially as we were running downhill and, at six miles I had a lovely surprise as my husband, Jacob, was there cheering me on. I kept to my plan, had my gels and kept going, making sure I took water from most of the stations.
“When I was coming up to Mile 12, just before Tower Bridge, I realised I hadn’t stopped but thought that I’d need to slow to a fast walk soon as my legs had started to shake. I kept going as by this time, I’d smashed my Personal Best for a half marathon. Then, at Mile 15, I hit a slight road bump. I had to stop to get my knee strapped up as it was absolutely killing me. Whilst the strapping didn’t really help much, it did help me psychologically, so on I went.
“At this point, I thought to myself – ‘I woke up this morning and chose pain today’ – so I don’t know why I was surprised, but I told myself, I just had to get over the Finish Line, which strangely, I always knew I’d do.
“I’d been listening to my Marathon Motivation playlist whilst I’d been training and had it with me on Sunday as the song selection is perfect. But on Marathon Day, I didn’t have the music on very much as there was so much going on in the crowds, bands and music playing, people cheering – it was a really uplifting atmosphere and drove me on.”
Sophie began her marathon at Greenwich Park, then circled around Charlton. She then passed The Cutty Sark and headed through Deptford and Rotherhithe. The course then took Sophie across the Thames over Tower Bridge, before sending her east through Canary Wharf, then doubling back towards The Embankment and The London Eye. Then Sophie made the long approach to Buckingham Palace, down Birdcage Walk to the Finish Line on The Mall.
“I thought to myself ‘I can’t wait to finish’ as I was coming up to Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament and only had about a mile to go; but crossing that Finish Line and knowing that I’d raised money for such a wonderful charity, made it all worthwhile. Oh, and I got a medal too.”
Mark Wilson, Chief Operating Officer at the charity said:
“I would like to say a huge thank you to Sophie for taking on The TCS London Marathon on behalf of Friends of the Elderly. Her fantastic commitment and drive throughout her training and the actual marathon itself have been outstanding. Sophie has raised such a great amount for Friends of the Elderly, which will help us to continue to support older people to live well in later life. Thank you again Sophie.”
Sophie’s book – The Folding Lady: Tools & Tricks to Make the Most of Your Space & Find After Value in Your Home – has sold thousands of copies worldwide and is available at most good bookstores or from Amazon at: http://ow.ly/Z2lA50MP83w
Sophie has appeared on numerous television programmes both in the UK and overseas and has a devoted ‘Folding Fam’ following of over five million on Tik Tok, Instagram and Facebook.
If you’d like to donate to Sophie’s Marathon effort and raise vital funds for Friends of the Elderly, you can do so at her JustGiving page.