Our own Finance and HR Assistant takes on London Marathon 2024

26 January 24

written by:

Press Office

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This year we’ve got a whopping 37 people running the London marathon for us, and in doing so raising funds and awareness to save sight and change lives. Excitingly, one of those runners will be our very own Jessica Norfolk, who works as our Finance and HR Assistant.  We caught up with Jess to find out about how she’s feeling about taking part in this iconic event.

Jess has been putting her name in for the marathon ballot since she turned 18, as she has always known this is something she’s wanted to do. Her dad running the marathon a few years ago in aid of Dystonia UK only fuelled her desire to run this epic course. Jess herself lives with Dystonia, so the fact she’s able to take part means a lot.

A shot of Jess from the waist up. She is smiling and wearing a grey, long-sleeved top.

This is her year!

Despite this being something Jess has wanted for a long time, she said that getting to take part in the London Marathon this year has felt like fate. Our spaces filled up really quickly but when one suddenly became available again, Jess snapped it up, feeling “it was a sign!”.

Preparations for the marathon can be intense, specifically the training process and the fundraising target. But now aged 24, with a full-time job, Jess feels more ready than ever to tackle these challenges. Plus, Jess now gets to run on behalf of the charity she works for, making the experience even more meaningful.

Fundraising the smart way…

Jess has taken part in smaller fundraising efforts in the past, bake sales and community events at school, but this is a whole new level of fundraising! “My plan is is to share my Just Giving page via social media platforms, and encourage people to sponsor me for interim goals. For example, ‘sponsor me to run 10/20/30 kilometres as I train for the London Marathon.’”, she explained. That way, she can raise money and train at the same time – ingenious! 


From gym to pavement…

When it comes to training, Jess is already well underway. Before she began marathon training, she was a frequent gym-goer, so now it’s just a case of upping her mileage! She set herself a goal of running 20k by the start of this year – roughly a half marathon – and will continue to build on that over the next few months. 

So what will keep her going as she pounds the pavements? Jess has curated an excellent playlist to keep her energy up. “It’s a real mix of 80s, 90s, and modern hits, including ‘Everybody Wants to Rule the World’ and ‘Space Cowboy.’” Jess shared “It’s over 5 hours long, so should hopefully last the entire marathon!”


The ultimate motivation

When asked what keeps her going – other than ‘Space Cowboy’, of course – Jess replied, “Everything.” Everything she has achieved while working here, and everything the charity has achieved as a whole. Her pride in her role is palpable. “It’s crazy looking back on everything in my life that has led up to this. My parents, especially.” she said. “When I was diagnosed with dystonia, they didn’t know what sort of life I could grow up to lead, and the fact that now they’ll be cheering me on as I run a marathon is just so brilliant.”


If you’d like to support Jess, you can find her Just Giving page here. Or keep an eye out for our call for Marathon supports and come cheer her on in person!