Nicola's special reason for running the London Marathon
By David Wood | 18th April 2023
A Gloucestershire businesswoman is preparing to run the TCS London Marathon on Sunday - and she has just hit her fundraising target.
Nicola Wilson will be joining 40,000 other runners in what will be a long-held ambition of running her first marathon at the age of 50.
Along with her husband Chris, Nicola runs The Fireplace Gallery, which has showrooms in Cheltenham and Gloucester.
Nicola will be running for the Whizz-KIdz charity, which empowers young wheelchair users by providing the wheelchairs, equipment, support and confidence-building experiences they need. She set herself a fundraising target of £2,100 and at the weekend achieved that goal.
Nicola told Punchline: "Turning 50 last July, I set myself one crazy goal....to run the London Marathon in my 50th year. A marathon has always been something I have wanted to achieve in life, but didn't think I would be able to run the distance, let alone have time to train.
"However, after joining AllRunners, a friendly ladies running group in Tewkesbury, I got the inspiration to realise that I could take on the challenge, if I was able to get a place. And, if I was to only run one marathon it would have to be London.
"I'd applied for the ballot many times but never got in, and didn't again. However I was determined to get a place so I contacted a number of charities and got offered a place with Whizz-Kidz.
"The atmosphere will be amazing and to run around the capital, with over 40,000 others all with their own story and reason for running, will be incredibly special, and in a matter of days this goal is to become reality.
Nicola added: "I must admit, I hadn't fully considered the logistics of the training. I run a business with my husband, have two children both in exam years, and I am a daily cook, cleaner, chauffeur and have a big labrador that needs his daily walks!
"My husband and I bought The Fireplace Gallery (founded in 1988) near Coombe Hill in Cheltenham five years ago after we returned from living in New Zealand. We have since opened a second showroom just off Eastern Avenue in Gloucester and have rebranded as 'Fireplace Gallery Fires & Stoves'.
"My husband and I run the business together along with a great team of both experienced heating engineers and sales advisors, with myself doing the financial and accounting side.
"Being the granddaughter of Harry Workman, the founder of Cotteswold Dairy in Tewkesbury, I have a family oriented work ethic and believe people buy from people, so customer service, honesty and kindness is key.
"I am going to the start line well trained, prepared and ready to run with my aim to complete it running and be still smiling at the end...which I hope to be about 4.5 hours after I start.
"So If I can run 26.2 miles to help provide a wheelchair for a child who does not have the ability to run, it makes it all so worthwhile."
Nicola added that after she set her fundraising target at £2,100, she soon realised that the training was the easy part as asking friends, colleagues and family for money is not something that comes naturally to her.
"With the power of social media I have been completely overwhelmed by the generosity and support," she added.
Anyone who would like to donate to Nicola's JustGiving page can click here
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