A WETHERBY orthodontist is bracing herself for her biggest challenge yet when she takes part in the London Marathon on Sunday.
Megan Hatfield, of Wetherby Orthodontics, which is based in Ashby Dental, on Deighton Road, will take part in the event on April 17 to raise money for Hearing Dogs for Deaf people – a charity close to her heart.
She said: “ Most people know about guide dogs but hearing dogs are less well known.
“My parents live in Hampshire and for several years have been puppy socialisers, taking care of the young dogs and doing basic training with them before they get matched with their recipient.
“It’s great for the deaf people who now have ‘ears’ and a companion, and it’s great for the dogs, which in many cases are rescue dogs.”
It will be the first time Megan has attempted to run a marathon and the orthodontist admits she wasn’t always a fan of the sport.
“I did walk a marathon, the Edinburgh Moonwalk in 2007, which was my first attempt at regular exercise or any sort of organised endurance event,” she said. “It gave me the confidence to start running. I decided that if I could train myself to walk for up to seven hours then I might be able to run for an hour. Before that I occasionally went to the gym or aerobics but nothing seriously, and I was never any good at sport at school.”
Megan was surprised to find that she actually enjoyed running and was soon looking for her next challenge, so she signed up for the Jane Tomlinson 10k in Leeds the following year. By the time she crossed the finish line she was already planning to do another race.
She said: “Initially I thought a marathon would be too far and not for me, but gradually I realised I wanted to be able to say I’d run a marathon. The atmosphere at London looks amazing and I really hope the crowds will give me a boost when it starts to get difficult.”
Megan has been braving the cold weather and dark nights to train at least three times a week and she is the first to admit that it hasn’t been easy.
“I attempt one long run a week, building up to 20 miles,” she said. “The rest are shorter and I sometimes run at lunchtime to fit training in around family and work. I’ve been enjoying the training, though some of the longer runs are over three hours and are very tiring.”
Megan hopes to raise £2,000 for Hearing Dogs for the Deaf. To help her reach her target and for more information visit www.justgiving.com/MeganVLM2011