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The London Marathon - Carla’s Story

20/05/2019

Firstly, I want to say how happy and grateful I am to have had the opportunity to run in the London Marathon for the Education for the Children Foundation and the School of Hope in Jocotenango, Guatemala.

Carla on London Bridge

I am Peruvian, a professional, a wife and a mother of 4 daughters. I am also a marathon runner. I am passionate about running and so far I have had the opportunity to run 5 marathons. I ran my first marathon in Honduras in 2012 and after this experience I decided that I wanted to take on the challenge of running the Abbott World Marathon Majors.

This challenge consists of running 6 of the biggest and most important marathons in the world. Thanks to my success in securing a place in London, I have completed 4 of the 6. I have already run in Chicago, New York, Berlin and London. In order to complete the challenge I have only Tokyo and Boston left.

The London marathon is the most difficult to find a place for, especially when you live in Latin America. I was looking for the opportunity by chance but it seemed impossible, when a friend who knew David McKee from EFTC said that he could enter me in the charity place to run on behalf of the Education for the Children Foundation.

Quickly I got in contact with David, we spoke and I promised to raise the target of £3,000 for the charity place. One of the things that excited me the most was that I could collect donations for a project that was in Guatemala, the country where I live. I thought as well that this would make things easier and as my friends and contacts in Guatemala would be more moved to donate.

From that moment I started to promote my donation page, with the excitement of being able to achieve my dream of running in the London Marathon.

I could not have imagined what happened after… to raise the money was complicated, and as time passed I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to raise the target but I didn’t give up and I continued promoting my fundraising page.

What had begun as a way of achieving my dream became a commitment to the EFTC foundation. Little by little I began to realise what this project meant for many families in Jocotenango. Finally, the donations weren’t sufficient, but my husband and I decided to make up the difference ourselves.

Arriving for the London Marathon

I travelled to London with all the necessary preparation and with a lot of excitement but above all with a deep gratitude. I arrived at the pre-race Expo to collect my number and was very impressed by the good energy from everyone there. From all sides you could read and hear the phrase ‘Thanks a Billion’. Nothing filled my heart more.

I arrived the day of the marathon and the whole experience was amazing, there was so much adrenaline and excitement for what was to come. We entered into our zones and they closed the gates. It was time to begin the race. We began to move closer to the start, and when we began to run and cross the start line I went to start the chronometer on my watch but it wouldn’t turn on.

From this moment I knew it was going to be a very hard day, without my chronometer I didn’t know what pace I was running at, how long I had been running for, when I should take my energy supplements, carbohydrates and proteins. I would have to run blindly… It was hard race. I didn’t know what time I was supposed to take my supplements and I started too fast. At kilometer 22 I felt really bad, I had to stop, I felt sick and had a bad stomach ache.

Getting to the finish line

From this moment I started to walk and run, I accepted then that this was not going to be my my best marathon time, but neither was it an option to quit. I had to finish, despite everything I had to do it.

The kilometres were passing, I regained a little strength and in the midst of all the exhaustion I was feeling I began to think of how fortunate I was to be running this marathon, thinking of my family who had all got up in the early hours of the morning (due to the time difference in Guatemala) to follow my race, thinking of my friends, my coach and all the people who had donated, thinking of the Foundation, and that if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be here… it wasn’t an option to quit now, I couldn’t make a bad impression on all of them. My family and Education for the Children were my motivation to finish the race and to enjoy the last kilometres and all the sights of London with deep gratitude.

On crossing the finish line all I could think was Thank God! I did it! I did what I had promised! And without knowing the school, the students or their families I could feel them in my heart.

London Marathon medal with Tower Bridge

My time was 4 hours and 24 minutes, not my best time but of all the marathons I have run so far this one was the most important for me.

Why?... Because it is the first time I have seen so much positive energy in one place, because it is the first time that I have run for charity which filled my heart, for all the people that motivated me in my hardest moments, for the beautiful people that I met along the way. Although I didn’t know them they cheered me on and encouraged me to carry on. The only thing in my head now is that I want to do it all again!

The trip to London was short, the two remaining days of my trip I dedicated to walking around and getting to know the city. I was very impressed, I have to return one day! It is a beautiful city.

Billie from EFTC with Carla

I am very grateful to the Foundation for this opportunity, for helping me to achieve my dream. But above all for introducing me to the project. Many thanks to David and Billie for all their hospitality and for being attentive to me at all moments. My husband, my daughters and I are all very excited to get to know the school. We are currently organising a visit to Jocotenango in May.

Thanks a Billion!