Laura’s tenfold marathon effort for East Anglian Air Ambulance
Ten marathons on 10 consecutive days in 10 towns and cities - that is Laura Bird’s 10-10-10 fundraising challenge for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA).
Laura, 27, was training hard for her marathon effort which was due to culminate in a Gold Bond place in the London Marathon on April 26 - but then the coronavirus pandemic intervened.
Undeterred, Laura kept training and will hit the road on Friday (June 12) in Ipswich, with marathons including Bar Hill (June 13), Cambridge (June 16), along the guided busway (June 18) and finally her hometown, St Ives, on June 21.
Describing her initial disappointment, she says: “It was a real blow. Coming up to the initial date I was doing 80 to 90-mile weeks.
“I always wanted to do something big for the air ambulance. I saw they were advertising for one of their Gold Bond places in the London Marathon and I wanted to make the challenge even bigger and run 10 marathons. That was taken away and I had to start training again - but every mile is worthwhile.”
Her reason for taking on the challenge is personal - in November 2010, just days after her 18th birthday, Laura tried to take her own life by walking out into traffic on the A14.
“I was 18 when the air ambulance came to save my life - it’s no exaggeration to say that. I learn from that every single day,” she says. “I realise the people in the air ambulance save people’s lives every day, they take it in their stride and they will never get enough credit or praise.”
Laura is preparing herself mentally as well as physically for the intensity of running 260 miles in 10 days. She says: “There will be times, maybe five or six marathons in, when I will be shattered, but long, physical challenges are 90 per cent psychological. I’ve done seven marathons before, two of them in ironman triathlon events.
“I take my inspiration from other endurance athletes, people like Nick Butter, the first man to run a marathon distance in every country in the world - he was running one every three days.”
Laura is this year’s EAAA Inspirational Event Fundraiser Award winner and Phillipa Levy, special events fundraiser at the charity, said: “Laura has been absolutely amazing to get to know during her fundraising. She is so determined and inspires us in every way. We can’t wait to see Laura put all her training into action and complete 10 marathons in 10 days.”
Laura’s target is £2,500 and donations can be made at justgiving.com/fundraising/laura-bird17.
She says: “We’ve planned the routes so they are lapped routes of five or six miles, and one is along the guided busway, so people can come along and watch or run with me at a safe distance.”