Rowena Freeland is a Paediatric Audiologist from Devon who diagnoses hearing loss in babies and young children. On Sunday 3rd October she will be running the 2021 London Marathon, to fundraise for Auditory Verbal UK. Here you can read her story of overcoming the gruelling rigours of training for a first marathon, and why it is so important to her that she do so on behalf of AVUK.


After applying for six years, I finally gained a ballot place for the 2021 London Marathon!  It's my first marathon, and possibly my last – although friends have told me it's addictive, so never say never, I can't say that I've found the recent training to be so!


I first started trying to train for a marathon about five years ago with some friends. Sadly, I had to stop due to knee problems. I thought I wasn't going to be able to run a long distance again, however in October last year I decided to do something about it and signed up to the Joe Wicks 90-day plan (training five days a week) with the aim of getting stronger, fitter, improving my mental health, and feeling healthier.


I've run just short of 1000 miles in the last eight months. On days I can honestly say training has been brutal. Trying to fit in training with children, home-schooling, school runs, work, summer holidays and trying to keep some sort of normality has been tricky.  Some days I've had to go for seven mile runs at 5am, do a 10-hour work day, and then drive up north for four hours.


I'm proud of what I've achieved. I've been lucky to have so many friends and family train alongside me to keep me going, especially when things have been tough on the long runs.


It also helps to be fundraising for a charity which I feel so passionate about. I'm a Paediatric Audiologist at a hospital in Devon who diagnoses hearing loss in babies and young children, so I have seen how hard it is for some children and families to get the support they need. Auditory Verbal UK is a charity that believes all deaf children should have the opportunity to listen and speak alongside their hearing peers. I have had the privilege of seeing their work in action and witnessed the amazing outcomes in some of the children that they have worked with.


I would love to be able to raise as much money as I can, to help support them in the amazing work they do. If I could raise enough to help fund a child through the program or help fund a training place for another therapist that would be fantastic.


Until the day I’m writing this I've not missed a single training run. However sadly Covid has finally hit my family, with all four of us testing positive! Hopefully I've done the hard work with completing a last long run of 24 miles last week.


Please consider donating to my fundraiser to support the fantastic work carried out by Auditory Verbal UK for deaf children all over the country. You can find my JustGiving page here.