During the daytime, Abigail Varley can be found in the classroom teaching Information and Communications Technology at The Marches School, in Oswestry, but on Sunday she left the school gates to conquer the streets of London.
Abi, 25, joined several other runners all of whom tackled the 26.2 mile course in aid of the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Abi was born at RAF Wegberg, a British RAF base in Germany as both of her parents served in the RAF. Her mother is now a reservist with 611 Squadron, based at RAF Woodvale and her father, formerly working in air traffic control, has now retired. Her family's rich RAF history means that Abi knows all too well how crucial the RAF Benevolent Fund's help and support can be to the RAF family and this spurred her on to raise money for the Fund by completing her first-ever marathon. As well as the benefits for the charity, Abi's health has also been boosted since her training began, Abi has dropped three dress sizes and lost more than four stone!
In 2014, Abi applied for the RAF Reserves but was unsuccessful as she failed her fitness test. Since then she has been using her marathon training as a way of improving her fitness and with plans to hopefully reapply for the RAF Reserves.
Abi said: "Now I’ve completed the marathon I want to reapply for the Reserves and prove to myself and everyone else that I can do it.
"Growing up on an RAF station can have its difficulties but charities such as the RAF Benevolent Fund offer support to families facing these unique issues. The Fund organised discos I attended as a child and even arranged for Santa to visit the Cypriot desert when my parents were stationed there during the Christmas period. It seemed a natural fit for me to fundraise for the RAF Benevolent Fund as I have been able to see first hand how they support service families.
"Sunday was brilliant, I absolutely loved it. The support you receive from complete strangers is incredible and kept me going the whole way. I now have post race depression and can’t wait to apply for next year's race. I'm going to keep running as my goal is to now complete all five of the major marathons across the world."
To date Abi has raised £1,420.96 for the Fund, if you would like to support Abi, you can sponsor her at https://www.justgiving.com/Abigail-Sarah-Varley1