AS a mother of three Gayle Hoy, 40, rarely has time to herself.
But since catching the running bug, since learning what it is like to feel the wind on her face and fresh air in her lungs, she savours pounding the ground and enjoying the peace and quiet.
Now she is counting down the days until 22 April when she’ll be crossing the start line at the Virgin London Marathon to raise funds for Muscular Dystrophy UK.
Inspired by two close friends who have children with the progressive muscle-wasting condition, Gayle, from Kirkliston, on the outskirts of the city, has raised so much cash that the charity has celebrated her as one of their top fundraisers.
“That feels good,” she said. “It’s really encouraging as I go into the last few weeks of training.
“It’s a real boost mentally to know I have so much support behind me.”
After having her youngest daughter and with her 40th birthday looming, Gayle wanted to improve her fitness and downloaded the NHS Couch to 5K app.
It worked a treat and soon she was entering her first ever race – a 5K at the Kelpies.
She was well and truly hooked, like other runners have discovered and after that went on to conquer a 10K, a half marathon and a ten-mile race.
It was then she set about applying to take on her biggest challenge yet – the 26.2 mile marathon.
She was delighted when she was was selected for the race.
But looking back she admits that she was “nervous about it at the same time”.
Despite the jitters, though, she’s now feeling positive about the big day after logging an impressive 68 running hours since January.
Gayle chose to run for the charity after a good friend’s four-year-old son was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy last year. The condition is a severe type of MD.
With no cure, the condition primarily affect boys as young as three years old and causes muscle depletion.
Shirley Hughes set up Elliot’s Fighting Fund as part of Muscular Dystrophy UK to raise money for research in Scotland and inspired her to try and help.
“As a mother I can’t imagine what she goes through,” she said. I just don’t know how she copes.”
Training in the lashing rain and freezing winds has meant that Gayle, who works part time in the Maybury Run4It shop, is prepared for any weather eventuality when she gets to London. Her husband will be there to cheer her on but they’re leaving the kids at home where they will be tracking their mum online to check her progress.
She said: “My husband jokes that it’s crazy what I’ll do for us to get a weekend away from the kids.”
You can donate to Gayle’s efforts at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gayleslondonmarathonchallenge 2018