A Marlow woman will be running in the London Marathon this year in memory of her late father.

Sarah Riley, 25, will take part in the virtual race on October 4 to raise funds for the Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub in South Oxfordshire.

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The hub cared for Sarah’s father, Steve, who sadly died of cancer in March 2019.

And despite never running a marathon in her life, Sarah is ready for the challenge.

She said: “After my dad died, I didn’t want to talk about what had happened.

“Someone suggested I put on my trainers and go for a run and I found it was the only way I had time to process what was going on – it was my bubble.

Bucks Free Press:

Sarah with her dad, Steve

“Running gives me time to think and I used it as my form of counselling which was amazing for me.

“My dad’s cancer diagnosis was very quick and he had quite a rapid decline.

“The care he received from the Sue Ryder nurses was just amazing - I don’t know how they do it."

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Sue Ryder Palliative Care Hub South Oxfordshire provides care and support to people with life-limiting conditions across South Oxfordshire as well as Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.

And with fundraising events cancelled for the rest of this year and with no clear indication of how long it will take for their charity shops to return to normal trading, it anticipates a funding gap of £1.5m for this financial year.

Sarah continued: “I signed up to do the London Marathon as a personal challenge just after he died, but with so many people applying I never thought I would get a space.

"We’ve always been a sporty family, but none of us have ever had the discipline for running and I never thought I would run a marathon.

“I have been training as much as I can and I’m aiming for my total running time to be under five hours.

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“On the day, I will loop past where my dad’s grave is a few times which will help me to touch base with the reason I’m doing it.”

Meghan Bentley, the community fundraiser, said: “We are so grateful to Sarah for taking on the virtual London Marathon to raise vital funds for us in memory of her dad.

“It takes a lot of dedication over a long period of time and we’d all like to wish her all the very best for the race day.”

Sarah will be splitting her run into two half marathons, where she’ll follow a route between her hometown of Marlow and Bourne End.

Along the way, she will be joined for 5K and 10K stints by some of her dad’s friends and former colleagues from London.