Lauren and Sue run London

April 2017: Sue and Lauren, from Snodland in Kent, ran the Virgin Money London Marathon 2017 for Brain Research UK.

"Will you train and run the London Marathon with me next year?" This was the Facebook message Lauren Whale sent to Sue Pritchard when the 2017 London Marathon application process opened.

Lauren wanted to celebrate her 40th year by setting a list of 40 things to achieve, one was running the London Marathon. Lauren explains, “I’ve always dreamed of running the London Marathon, but perhaps never believed that I could. I used to help out at the water station on race day and one of my fondest memories is when a class mate brought his dad’s marathon medal into school after the race one year. I was so envious. I wanted one for myself.”

Lauren and Sue: London Marathon journey

Lauren called on close friend Sue Pritchard to help her train, and be her marathon buddy for one of the most testing adventures of her 40th year.

Sue, who previously ran the Virgin Money London Marathon in 2011, claimed race day in 2011 was “probably one of the best experiences of my life”.

After a few years with injuries, no training and lack of motivation, Sue was very surprised when Lauren asked the question. “I wasn’t sure if Lauren thought I would say no or not. But I think she knew that as I wasn’t in a good place with my fitness and self-belief, I would never have had the courage to attempt another marathon by myself.”

Sue previously ran the marathon in memory of her father, Roy Moxon, who lived with ataxia and died in 2009. Sue wanted to help fund research into ataxia, an incurable neurological condition that affects co-ordination, balance and speech. “We couldn’t win my dad’s battle with ataxia,” Sue said, “but by raising awareness and helping to fund research into possible cures and medication, we knew we could help other people.”

And so, after choosing to run for Brain Research UK, Lauren and Sue’s journey began.

“By committing to help the charity we’re motivating each other to get more active,” Lauren and Sue say. They also wanted to inspire women to achieve things they didn’t think were possible.

“We were never picked first for school sports teams. We’re not super fit. And we do often wonder how on earth we must look when we exercise. But it is when you’re not feeling at your fittest, when you’re feeling older, when you’ve put a bit of weight on, that you need all the confidence and bravery in the world to get up, get out there, and exercise.”

“You need to set yourself a goal,” Lauren added. “Find a supportive friend along the way to share the journey with and get to that start line no matter what it takes.”

And they did it! The 26.2 miles of the Virgin Money London Marathon 2017 is complete.

“It was an amazing experience,” said Lauren. “The support from everyone along the course, including family, friends and complete strangers, was phenomenal. It really helps to keep you going.”

Sue said: “The sheer scale of this event, and all the emotions involved, is truly mind-blowing. It was a privilege to experience this once again, as well as helping a friend to achieve one of her lifetime ambitions and raise money for a wonderful cause along the way.”

Sue Pritchard - Running the London Marathon

Sue also added “The joys and emotions can be summed by this (photo above) - seeing supporters on the course, the realisation that you’re close to home and the accomplishment that I’ve helped a friend and worked hard to pay another fitting tribute to my dad by helping a great charity!!”

Inspired by Lauren and Sue's story? Find out how you could raise money for Brain Research UK by taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon or another challenge event. 

Let’s unite to accelerate the progress of brain research. Today.