Single Mother Runner – Ria’s story

Posted 7 November 2019


After lots of fantastic applications, we’re so excited to announce that single parent Ria is going to be our champion fundraiser for the 2020 London Marathon! In her first blog for us, she discusses her journey so far and why she’s chosen to run for Gingerbread.

It may please a lot of you that – despite seeming to have enough of my act together to apply for the London Marathon and, what’s more, to start writing a blog about it – after 30 minutes of Googling and drawing a complete blank (literally…) I have landed at ‘Sh!t – I’m running the London Marathon’ as the theme of my first post. Ta dah!

So, let’s get the weird, awkward intro bit over first… (Yep, I’ve also Googled how you do that in a blog as well). A bit about me – I’m Ria, a 38 year-old single mum of one living in South Devon. What was my journey to single parenthood?  Well, imagine that three years ago, you stepped onto a roller coaster and it’s only just about slowing down now.  Then, throw in a move to a new part of the country, becoming a mum, becoming a single mum, starting a new business and a few house moves in between, then yep – you’ve pretty much grasped the gist of it!

Becoming a single parent has probably been the biggest opportunity for growth that life has thrown at me yet.  Some days I’m grabbing it with both hands, and other days, I’m trying to throw it on like a hot potato.

Get out and run!

Back in July when I applied to run the London Marathon for Gingerbread, I was clearly having one of those days when I was grabbing it with both hands! In September, when I heard I had won the place, it was one of those days when I wanted to throw it on like a hot potato!

Just a little bit of context here which will no doubt come up in other posts – my daughter has just turned two, so we have entered into quite a different phase over the summer of her… hmm, how can we put it? ‘Finding her own voice’! Well, on that day, she had well and truly ‘found her voice’ at a local National Trust property…enough said. So, finding out that I had got the place in the London Marathon 2020 came at the most perfect time. This was going to be THE best excuse EVER for the next six months to get out and run!

Running is up there in the top things which I love to do, and has kept me sane – and continues to – as a single mum and through life in general. I have always enjoyed running, but like anyone juggling being a parent, working, and balancing the remnants of a social life (don’t worry, this is such an over-exaggeration) and then just keeping on top of everything else, it’s bloody hard to fit it in. In fact, when I come to think of it, I haven’t really thought all of this marathon training through!

Why I’m running for Gingerbread

All joking aside, when I saw that Gingerbread was looking for someone to represent and run for them in the London Marathon, I knew that I had to apply. I have used Gingerbread and their available support numerous times over the last year while navigating life as a single parent. Everyone wants the best and most stable upbringing for their child, and it’s no different when you are faced with being a single parent. What it does bring, however, is another layer of complexity and a completely new set of challenges and unanswered questions, and that is where Gingerbread has come in for me.

It’s a massive thing for me to be able to support this hugely valuable charity and combine this with running, and if along the way, I can encourage anyone else to carve out a bit of time for them in their hectic lives, then that’s great!

So where do my blogs come in? I’m going to share an honest, unapologetic account of my training for the next six months. Yes – the running, obviously the running, but also how this fits into my life, the highs it brings, the lows it brings and all the fundraising in between.

So, if you fancy a bit of read every so often to see how I’m getting on, please pop by. I encourage you to grab a glass of wine while doing it and think of me pounding the wet muddy trails racking up the miles!

Ria will be sharing her journey to the London Marathon on her new blog, Single Mother Runner.

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