Laura preparing for her first marathon run and it’s all in support of Hospiscare

PUBLISHED: 09:18 22 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:18 22 April 2020

Laura Saunders with the medal she received having completed the Geneva half marathon. Picture: LAURA SAUNDERS

Laura Saunders with the medal she received having completed the Geneva half marathon. Picture: LAURA SAUNDERS


Laura Saunders in a young woman on a mission!

Laura Saunders on one of her hiking expeditions. Picture: LAURA SAUNDERSLaura Saunders on one of her hiking expeditions. Picture: LAURA SAUNDERS

The 26-year-old, who lives in Feniton, is preparing to run a ‘virtual marathon,’ next month that will see her raise funds for Hospiscare.

Laura opened a boutique gift shop in Ottery St Mary (21a Broad Street) called LauryLee and had been planning to run an in-store charity event in support of Hospiscare on the last weekend of March.

However, the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to that and so now she has turned her attention to a ‘virtual marathon’ run to support the charity.

Luara has previously run a half marathon as well as taken on, and completed, numerous 10k events, but has never run a full marathon.

Luara Saunders during a hiking trip in Europe. Picture; LAURA SAUNDERSLuara Saunders during a hiking trip in Europe. Picture; LAURA SAUNDERS

She says: “Unfortunately, due to the closure of the shop we have had to postpone the idea of an in-store fund raising imitative which led to me having a think as to how I could still ‘do my bit’ to help.

“When I heard that Hospiscare was suffering due to charity events being cancelled, and of course, charity shops closing, I decided I needed to do something else in the meantime to raise funds for the charity.

“Hense, the idea of ‘the virtual marathon’ was born. This basically just means that it’s not an official marathon and the distance will be recorded using a running app (in this case strava or garmin).

“It also means unfortunately no cheering crowds, other competitors to keep the motivation up and sadly no finishing medal.”

Laura is hoping that folk will support her in her effort and, for those wishing to donate and track her progress then they can keep ‘up to speed’ by visiting her JustGiving page at

Laura explains how she ‘discovered’ running by saying: “I do enjoy running, I only took the sport up some two years ago when I was travelling. I was then au-pairing for a 10-year-old girl in Switzerland and have to say she was an amazing runner!

“I might also add that there is nothing worse than a 10-year-old beating you in a race; and it certainly acted as a spring board to ‘improve my running’. Sadly, I never quite reached the standard to outrun that particular young girl!

“However, that summer I did manage to take on, and finish, my first half marathon, the Geneva Half Marathon, which I completed in a time of one hour and 51 minutes.”

With regard to how she is continuing to run and indeed prepare for her first ever marathon, particularly in light of the current Covid-19 lockdown conditions, Laura says: “ Obviously, with the current lockdown, I’m taking the government guidelines extremely seriously.

“I’m running close to home as much as possible and using the garden a lot for strength training rather than the gym.

“At present I haven’t planned a route for the marathon day as it’s un clear as to what sort of restrictions will be in place come the May 24 date, I plan to run it.

“That said, if current restrictions are still in place then there is a one-mile loop close to my home which I plan to run 26.2 times - although hope it won’t come to that, as it could get pretty boring!

“The worst part about lockdown is not being able to run with anybody so having to keep that motivation up myself is tough.

“However, as hard as it can be sometimes to motivate myself to get up in the morning and run, I’ve not yet missed a run and have stuck to my schedule.”

She continues: “With everything that’s going on, I’m listening to my body a lot more and certainly not pushing myself as hard as I normally would, the last thing I’d want is to add strain to the NHS or have an injury meaning I can’t run on the day.

“One good thing that’s come from it is that I’m certainly stretching a lot more than I normally would after runs (runners famously hate this part) to ensure I decrease any risk of injury.”

As for a target time for her first marathon, Laura says: “I’m naturally competitive with myself and constantly push myself to go further or faster. With lock down I’ve definitely slowed down a lot more, which is probably a good thing in the long run. I’d love to be running the marathon on the day at under four hours, that’s always been the goal for my first marathon attempt.

“I’d still like to hit that bench mark and it’s great to have something to aim towards - I’ll definitely not be disappointed if I don’t quite get there though knowing I’ve done my best and kept safe whilst raising money for charity will be enough for me. I’ll certainly be signing up for an official marathon afterwards to try and reach that goal though!”

So, what, if any, diet is she following in terms of her training towards the marathon?

Laura says: “I’ve adjusted my diet slightly in the build-up to the marathon. I have to admit I’m learning as I go along with nutrition and how much of each food group you should be eating. I feel like you can spend hours online researching, but I think it’s more trial and error to see what works for you.

“As with any diet, if you don’t enjoy what you’re eating it’s hard to maintain. Luckily I love cooking and I’m enjoying learning some new recipes to introduce more protein to my diet too.”

What next after what we hope is a successful marathon run on May 24? Laura replies saying: “On completing the marathon I’ll definitely be wanting to sign up to more when I’m able to.

“After all the effort put in to train up to run 26.2 miles, I want to ensure I’m making the most of it. I was planning to run a marathon this summer with my brother who lives in Spain, obviously with the strict lockdown in Spain he’s been unable to train, so I might actually have an advantage over him if we manage to sign up for one this year.”

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