Natasha Godfrey from Fiera Real Estate is incredibly about to take on her fifth London marathon! And this time it’s all in aid of LandAid.
We are so grateful to have this support from Natasha. The committment she is giving and the money she is raising will enable many young people experiencing homelessness to create a more stable and secure future for themselves.
Natasha spoke to us about her training, her motivations and why she wants to end youth homelessness!
Please tell us about your background.
I am currently a receptionist at Fiera Real Estate. I have been there for over three years now. I was introduced to LandAid through work, through Alex Price and all the charity work that Fiera have done during my time with the company. I was also introduced to LandAid by David Mann. David Mann visited us and at our old offices, pre-Covid, and had an incident where he had a heart attack and, as I’m a first aider, I helped him! Last year, he donated a defibrillator to the LandAid House.
And of course, I started running marathons. I did my first one five years ago so this year’s London Marathon will be fifth and final one. With working full time and fitting the training in, I have never been fortunate enough to get a ballot place for London, so I’ve always taken the charity ballot which means pressure. Some charities require you to raise a certain amount of money, so the pressure is always on. I’ve always managed to hit my targets or at least exceed the target which is really good. This year I was fortunate enough to get a charity place and I decided that I would like to run for LandAid because so many people run for cancer research or British Heart Foundation. I think there are smaller charities that get missed that really need the help and support for all the fantastic work they do.
How did you first get involved in supporting LandAid?
Fiera Real Estate has been involved with LandAid for quite some time before I even joined the company. During my time here, we have done charity events and 10K runs to raise as much as money as possible for LandAid. Fiera, the circumstances with David Mann and the LandAid house, I felt it was quite fitting that I would choose LandAid to run for and support.
What are your motivations about London Marathon? What made you do it five times?
For years I tried to run the London Marathon, but it was quite difficult to get a ballot. The first marathon I ran was Edinburgh which was inspired by a running club. I had the support from others in the club which is amazing. Recently, I decided that as I wasn’t getting any younger (!) and if I wanted to run London, which is the most sought out marathons along with Boston, Chicago and New York, I had to do it soon.
If London was something I wanted to do, I had to run for charity places which is what I have done the previous three times. Fundraising for a charity really motivates you on those running days where you think I’ve been at work all day, I don’t want to do a 5k or a 10k. But when you know people are donating money for your run that really forces your hand to, to fit the training in!
When you’ve got to do three hours of training closer to the time of the actual marathon it’s a lot out of your weekend. You have to stop what you’re doing, plan your route, hydration. You have to ask yourself: have you got someone to run with? Or are you going to run alone? Where can you run alone? Where can I feel safe? There’s an awful lot of planning that goes into it. So, you need a lot of motivation – mentally and physically to get out of the door!
This year I’ve done it all on my own – no team running especially on the long runs. And with the heat this summer, it plays havoc when you want to go running as it’s way too hot! I have been getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning to get the long runs finished, which takes anything from an hour and half or more.
It takes a lot of strength to run a marathon and I know I’m not the only who puts the effort in. It’s going to be my last marathon and I want to go out with bang. I want to raise as much as money for LandAid. I will suffer physically, but there are lot of youngsters out there who are struggling to find a safe place to live, so that’s my motivation! On my walk to work every morning, especially once I get into Charing Cross, and when I see young people who are homeless on the streets it really hits home. It makes me realise that how can I worry about trying to fit in my morning training when there are far bigger problems.
What are you most excited about running this year’s London Marathon?
Finishing it! I would also like to build my speed up. You can do all the training in the world, and you might not perform as well on the day but that can go either way. I really want to raise as much money as possible and raise awareness for LandAid. There are people out there who have not heard of LandAid as a charity and all the fantastic work that they do. And more importantly to raise much money to help as many young people as possible.
What has stood out for you in your marathon history?
How giving and supportive people can be. When you see the people come out and support you it is phenomenal.
I listen to music when I am running to help distract me and make the time go quicker. Each time I ran in London I take my earphones, but I don’t use them because you cannot hear through all the cheering from the supporters. You can hear strangers calling your name, especially when you get to 18 plus miles – the atmosphere is phenomenal and magical! You cannot really describe it.
Also, the effort that goes into planning such an event, especially all the brilliant volunteers.
The first time I ran London, I came in at just under 4.30 hours which seemed to go in a blink of eye. As soon as I crossed that finish line and got that medal I wanted to do it all over again. I wanted to replay it, I wanted to re-live it straightaway. I couldn’t wait to reapply and do it again next year. The week before the Marathon where you go to Excel Exhibition to get your number that’s when it hits and it gets real that this is really happening.
What would you say to anybody who is taking part in events to support LandAid?
No matter what the event, everybody has strengths and weaknesses, and if running is not your thing, there are plenty of activities – cycling, swimming, it doesn’t have to be a sport either – there are lots of ways to hold an event. We had an event in the office and did a spin-a-thon where we rented bikes and lots of people took part in 20-minute slots. There are lots of way for people to support charities and raise money. And it’s such a fabulous feeling when you know that you’re raising money. If it’s a physical event that’s what you got at the back of your mind to keep you going. That extra couple of miles, that half an hour out of your day, to do something good for other people that are less fortunate than myself.
Support Natasha by making a donation here