For 24-year-old Freya Williams of Greenwich, taking on the London Marathon this year means so much more to her than ticking something off her bucket list. It's a chance for her to honour her Great Uncle, who served in Bomber Command during the Second World War. In this guest blog, Freya tells us more.
My brother, Eliot Williams competed in the London Marathon last year and I went along on the day, being the supportive sister I am, with enthusiasm and lots of encouragement. The buzz was amazing, there was such a great atmosphere throughout the city and I was in awe of everyone taking part.
The ballot for 2018 opened a couple of weeks later, and after a nagging text from Eliot and a few too many glasses of wine, I filled in the online application. The following morning, with a sore head, I remembered about my impulsive decision and was instantly filled with regret.
But I reassured myself that the odds were in my favour and that people enter the ballot year on year without success and there was no way that I would get a place first time.
Fast forward four months and I received an email from Virgin Money London Marathon.
Congratulations! Your entry for the London Marathon to be held on 22 April has been accepted.
What have I done?
When the panic subsided I was faced with the next big decision. Who would I run for? I knew that if I was taking on such a challenge I wanted to do it for a worthy charity and Armistice Day fell around the same time I found out I had a ballot place, so instantly I thought of my Great Uncle Ian Ross Elliott.
He was a Beaufighter pilot during the Second World War and was tragically killed when his aircraft was shot down over the North Sea. I have visited the Runnymede memorial, which honours him and 20,000 other airmen and women who were lost in the Second World War during operations who sadly have no grave.
So I decided that I would run for the RAF Benevolent Fund, who supports current and former members of the RAF, their partners and dependants, whenever they need it.
I'm currently four months into my training plan and it's all going well so far. My longest run to date has been 15 miles and I've been persuading friends to join me on my runs, which helps a lot.
I know on the day it will be tough and there will inevitably be some highs and lows but running for such a worthwhile cause will get me over the finish line.
By Freya Williams