Uckfield mum Tara Twyman is to run eight marathons on eight consecutive days and her two-year-old son Leo is going to take on his own running challenge to support her.
Tara, aged 33, who lives on the Hempstead Fields Estate, with husband Peter and Leo, has run several marathons before but never in such close succession.
She says traditional running wisdom recommends running no more than one or two marathons a year which makes her challenge all the more extreme.
Pioneering educational project
In all she will complete 210 over the eight days, which is about the distance from London to Manchester. Her reason for doing it is to raise money for the Yoga Mission, a charity running pioneering educational projects in India.
Tara, works in Mayfield, in the development office at St Leonards-Mayfield School. She has horses which are kept at High Hurstwood and goes to the gym and attends fitness classes at Uckfield Leisure Centre while Leo goes into the creche which he loves.
Her marathon challenge starts with the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, April 26, and is followed by six self-organised marathons dotted around Kent and Sussex.
The final marathon is an ‘ultramarathon’, the Three Forts Challenge, which comes in at just over 27 miles.
Runners from local clubs and members of the online running community Run Mummy Run will be supporting Tara along the way, and double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes will be ready to meet her with cake at the finish line of marathon number two at her cafe in Hildenborough.
Tara’s son Leon is keen to get involved and he will join her for the final laps of marathon number five which is to be run entirely on the 400m athletics track in Lewes.
Charity supports the poorest children
Tara has been inspired by the work of Lucy Guest, an Oxford graduate who gave up a lucrative and promising career in the city in search of a more fulfilling existence. She has now spent 15 years in India and set up the Yoga Mission, an educational charity which funds projects run by the International Chandramauli Trust in Varanasi.
Lucy was struck by the number of children who seemed to slip through the state education system so rented a room and started teaching children who had dropped out of school with the aim of returning them to mainstream school.
In the space of a few years, this one room has grown into the International Chandramauli Trust, a school in Varanasi spread over five floors, which has 150 pupils on its books, including 29 residents.
Tara says that what makes Chandramauli special is its philosophy. The holistic model of education not only provides children with the educational tools they need to further themselves professionally, but gives them an identity and a purpose by rooting them in their history and instilling in them the basic decent values of their own Vedic culture.
They leave with a profound sense of both where they have come from, and where they want to go – most staying in their own community to help effect the change. Chandramauli takes in the very poorest children, society’s outcasts educates them, houses them, clothes them and shows them how to lead a life with dignity and respect, and how to live as a valuable member of society.
Fund-raising target is £5,000
Tara is aiming to raise £5000 from her eight marathons which will pay for Chandramauli to open a kindergarten for 20 children, and to run it for a year, offering hot meals and uniforms to the children, while giving them the best possible educational start.
Tara said: “I have followed Lucy’s work since 2010, and right from the start I felt that she was doing something special and unique. It’s not every day you meet someone who has devoted their whole life to other people, and in such a sustainable and ethical manner.
“A charity on such a small scale relies heavily on the goodwill of the relatively small number of people who know about it. I just feel that this is such a good cause that more people should know about it, and so I decided to take on this challenge.
Challenge had to be tough
“It had to be tough to make it worth people donating, but I have a feeling it’s going to be tougher than anything I can imagine. I just hope that people will get behind me and support the cause, as that is what will carry me through the finish lines. That and A LOT of jelly babies.”
Tara is keen for other runners to join her for part or all of any of the marathons.
Two-lap run for Leo
Her son, Leo, who turned two in January, plans to run two laps of the athletics track at Lewes on April 30, which is 800m or half a mile.
Tara said: “He’s very excited about it. He has been coming running with me ever since he was a tiny baby in the pram, and he loves it, although we now do a combination of him running on his legs and resting in the buggy.
“I can’t wait to run with him. In my imagination we’ll charge triumphantly over the finish line hand in hand….in reality he’ll be darting about like a puppy and I’ll be too tired to see, but it might make a nice photo opportunity.”
To read more about the challenge and to find out how to get involved please visit www.tararuns8in8.wix.com/8in8 and make a donation at www.justgiving.com/tararuns8in8 or text ARAT88 £5 to 70070 to donate £5.