Spring has sprung and as we welcome a weather change, we also welcome back the London Marathon! Having taken place since 1981, this world-famous marathon will be returning on Sunday, 21st April, welcoming tens of thousands to the streets of London to run past some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. Every year, thousands of people also run for charities, and to support causes they deeply believe in. This year, Afghanaid will have 15 brave runners participating in the event, all raising money to support the people of Afghanistan as they continue to face challenges including food insecurity, poverty and environmental disasters.

One of these dedicated runners is Afghanaid’s own Josephine Edmunds, running with her two sisters Dani and Nicole. Whilst this will be Dani’s third entry in the London Marathon, Josephine and Nicole will be taking on the challenge for the very first time. With only two weeks to go, we recently chatted to the trio of sisters to see how they were preparing for this tough challenge:

Taking on a challenge such as the London Marathon is not for the faint-hearted, and lots of preparation goes into training for this mammoth event. Why did you choose to take on the challenge and run for Afghanaid?

J: Women and girls in Afghanistan are experiencing an erosion of their freedoms and despite these limitations placed on their lives, they continue to demonstrate incredible resilience… When I went out to Afghanistan in December, I spoke to lots of Afghan communities and, in each village, it was the women who suggested project ideas and who showed real enthusiasm to improve their futures. I want to run the marathon for Afghanaid to show these women and girls that they have not been forgotten.

D: I’m running for Afghanaid's ‘It Starts With Her’ campaign because, as a female scientist, I really appreciate the opportunities I’ve had, and feel that women everywhere should be empowered to shape the careers and lives they want to live.

N: Afghanaid is an incredible charity that sheds light on issues which are too often overlooked…With Josephine working in Afghanaid, and travelling to Afghanistan last December, I’ve been lucky enough to see and understand the work that goes into supporting Afghan communities. I hope that by running for the charity, I’ll help to raise awareness about the vital work that Afghanaid does.

Q: This will be your first time taking part in an event such as this together. Are you looking forward to running together as sisters?

N: Of course! Nothing better than running with family. As long as we don’t race down the Mall…

D: Um Maybe? My sisters are very fast at running so I doubt I’ll be able to keep up!

J: Yes! I ran a 30k training run by myself the other week and mentally trying to push myself for that long was probably the biggest challenge, so having the other two when it really starts to hurt will be such a help. We’re all pretty competitive but this time we’ve settled on a pace to run together to try and avoid racing each other round the whole thing, let’s hope we stick to that… 

Some of Afghanaid's previous star runners!

Q: An event like this requires a lot of motivation and focus to get through it. What will keep you motivated whilst undergoing this challenge?

D: The crowds! In past marathons, I’ve got all my energy from the supporters, bands, musicians and groups that line the route! As long as the crowds are cheering and playing music, I should hopefully be able to keep smiling…

N: I’m hoping the crowds, and the adrenaline of running a marathon as iconic as London! I’ve also persuaded a lot of friends to support on the course, so there are no excuses for stopping! Plus I’m sure all of us will pick each other up when needed!

J: Nicole and I have heard there’s going to be a Lucozade stand... Motivation through isotonic drinks! But of course, the crowds are meant to be an unbelievable boost. I’ve also got a lot of family and friends coming to support so seeing them will keep me going, and of course, spotting the Afghanaid team!

Q: Are there any pieces of advice they would like to share with others running for Afghanaid?

J: Build up your mileage gradually. The main thing in building up the distance is making sure you avoid injury, so don’t rush it and keep it steady. And run with friends, they make it so much more bearable!

N: Run with others (you need company!) and set yourself manageable goals as you go- both throughout the training and probably also during the marathon!

D: Find and connect with other people running marathons or doing similar events at the same time- they’ll be happy to chat about their training with you and won’t be bored to death by your endless conversations about long runs and time and distance and niggles!

Thank you Josephine, Dani and Nicole!

Overall, choosing to participate in a marathon for charity is not an easy decision, requiring lots of dedication and resilience to meet your fundraising targets, and build up your physical abilities. Despite this, Josephine, Dani, and Nicole’s enthusiasm to run the London Marathon for Afghanaid has inspired us all. We would like to wish them luck on this incredible challenge they will soon embark on, and again offer our huge thanks for running for Afghanaid and supporting Afghan communities facing unimaginable challenges. 

To support our fantastic runners, check out their donation pages below, and help them hit their life-changing fundraising targets:

Josephine    Dani    Nicole

Feeling inspired?

Inspired to take on this mighty challenge yourself, and do something incredible for the men, women and children of Afghanistan? Learn more about how you could run for Afghanaid next year.

To learn more about the London Marathon you can visit their website.