Geologist dons trainers for final marathon of 30 before 30 challenge

Geologist dons trainers for final marathon of 30 before 30 challenge
Lucinda Layfield started the marathon challenge in January (Lucinda Layfield/Jamie Moran/PA)

A geologist has said she feels “relieved” to be close to the finishing line of her 30 marathons for 30 charities before 30 challenge.

Lucinda Layfield, who splits her time between London and Aberdeen, started the challenge in January to commemorate her 30th birthday in a memorable way.

Speaking to the PA news agency ahead of her final run for Leeds Hospitals Charity on November 25, she said: “My immediate honest answer about how I feel about finishing the challenge is sort of relieved as after marathon 22, I felt like my body started giving up.

Woman looking at the camera and smilingLucinda Layfield is taking on her 30th marathon on Saturday (Lucinda Layfield/Jamie Moran/PA)

“In this last week, I’ve had to dig deep because I have plantar fasciitis in my left foot and a groin injury, but I am so close to the finish line.

“My stepfather (Anthony Anton, 68), who is like a father to me and has been in my life since I was about 10 years old, got really ill during this whole process and was in the intensive care unit for quite a few weeks from March to April on a ventilator at St James’s Hospital in Leeds.

“I literally didn’t know if he would make it and that rocked me, so I decided to run the final marathon for the Leeds Hospitals Charity.”

The final marathon is to take place in Battersea Park and she aims to start it early, so she can give herself enough time to relax before jetting off to Oman on Sunday – the day of her 30th birthday.

Woman posingMs Layfield doing marathon 19 (Lucinda Layfield/Jamie Moran/PA)

Ms Layfield, who has balanced the running challenge alongside her full-time job as a geologist for an energy company and studying for a PhD on the geology of the area between the Faroe Islands and the Shetland Islands, has tried to run each marathon on a day which is linked to the charity she is raising money for.

On Remembrance Day, for example, her marathon raised funds for the Royal British Legion.

“I was in Scotland that weekend and because of my injuries, I had to hike that one,” she said.

“That one was tough but was also quite special – just because of the significance of the day for the UK and because I really struggled with it due to injuries and feeling exhausted, but managed to get to the end.”

Woman smiling at cameraMs Layfield doing marathon 19 (Lucinda Layfield/Jamie Moran/PA)

She has also donned her trainers to mark events including International Men’s Day (November 19), where she ran for Movember, as well as running The Leeds Marathon (May 25), to raise money for Mind after Mental Health Awareness Week (May 15-21).

The latter was especially “emotional” for the geologist, as she is originally from Leeds.

“I ran the marathon around my home town where I grew up and the atmosphere was amazing,” she said.

“That was the marathon where Kevin Sinfield carried Rob Burrow over the finish line and it was extremely emotional and my friends and family came up to see me.”

She said that although her times for the marathons have decreased over time – mainly from picking up injuries – the support from the public and her loved ones has kept her going.

“I’ve received amazing messages on Instagram from people I don’t know, saying what I am doing is amazing and telling me to keep going,” she said.

Woman walking with dog next to herMs Layfield has said she feels relieved to be coming to the end of her marathon challenge (Lucinda Layfield/Jamie Moran/PA)

“I’ve had lots of people leave anonymous donations and I’ve had my trusty family and friends all regularly donating for each marathon.

“I also need to give a big shout-out to my partner Jamie too as he’s been at almost every marathon, either cycling beside me or handing me snacks.”

She reflected on the challenge, adding that although it was “not what I expected”, she learnt a lot about what she is – and is not – capable of.

The fundraising link can be accessed here, with money raised to be split between the different charities:

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