Mims Davies, MP for Eastleigh, looks set to be a part of history this April as 16 constituency leaders are signed on to race the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon.
With the current highest being nine MPs taking to the start line in Blackheath on race day – in 2014 – this year looks set to be a record-breaking one with the highest number of female MPs signed up, the first ever knighted Member of Parliament set to run in Sir Kevin Barron, and Hannah Bardell the first Scottish National Party runner.
Ms Davies is new to the marathon, and was part of a recent MPs breakfast at Portcullis House to allow the novices and experienced alike to share training stories, inspiring tales and get hints and tips from expert coach Martin Yelling.
With this year’s race exploring the theme of documenting everyone’s ‘Reason to Run’, Ms Davies shared her own motivation and why it means so much to her.
‘If I’m completely honest the reason that I’m running the Virgin Money London Marathon this year is that I’m fed up with being a spectator,” said the former radio presenter.
‘I was meant to do it a couple of years ago but broke my toe so this is my year I’m coming back to be on the course rather than spectating.
‘I’m just really pleased to be lining up with some really great people and I think that’s the brilliant thing about this sport – you can’t be on the pitch with the England team but you can run the same races as the top athletes and that’s really exciting.
‘I’m also running for charity, I’m running for Cardiac Risk in the Young. It’s a really important charity, there are far too many young people dying under the age of 30 from undiagnosed heart diseases.
‘One of my constituents lost their life at 22 on a hen weekend. She had just trained as an accountant and was a wonderful daughter so I’m keen to raise more money for heart screening.’
The Virgin Money London Marathon, which began in 1981, is one of just six Abbott World Marathon Majors and this year received a record 253,930 entrants for the just over 50,000 places available.
In 2016 the race celebrated its one millionth finisher, with the event attracting more than half a million spectators to cheer on the runners.
With personal goals varying from setting a personal best, to just making it to the finish line, Mims Davies and her 15 fellow MPs have been pounding the pavement since the turn of the year to ensure they are in peak condition come April 23.
But, like others who have to balance a hectic work schedule with getting the miles in, Davies admitted it is difficult to mix training and work.
‘I’ve got to admit training has been a bit sporadic – being an MP it can be quite difficult – but I’m going to prioritise making sure that I’m there on the 23 April,’ she added.