‘We have all made sacrifices’ - Norfolk nurse putting 300th marathon dream on hold
- Credit: Melanie Sturman
Melanie Sturman thought 2020 was to be the year she completed her 300th marathon, got married and celebrated her 50th birthday. But after coronavirus, her plans for two of those three milestones are on hold.
Despite feeling “gutted”, the 49-year-old, from Thetford, who would have completed her 300th marathon on Sunday, said she will not stop chasing that dream.
Ms Sturman said: “I was on target to complete 52 marathons in a year and reach my 300th.
“I said that is something I wanted to do for my 50th birthday because a couple of years ago I had a few health scares.
“It just made me realise you never know what’s around the corner and I wanted to do it before anything else would stop me, and then the pandemic began.
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“I have done 291 marathons and now I’m only 9 away.
“But being a nurse, I know we have all had to make sacrifices and this is nothing compared to losing a loved one.”
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Ms Sturman, who is a nurse for Norfolk County Council and the NHS, was also set to marry her fiancé, Richard Furness, 62, on August 15, a day before her 50th birthday.
But now the couple have been forced to move their special day to August 2021.
“Mentally, March was really tough because it was, ‘cancel your wedding and you can’t run’,” said Ms Sturman.
“And as a nurse I have supported staff members who sadly contracted Covid and I have been busy supporting patients in the community, so it has been a challenging time.
“Yes, I was gutted but in my line of work you completely understand why you have to do it.”
But now Ms Sturman has turned her focus to helping others.
During lockdown the running enthusiast has been involved in challenges such as Centurion One Running Challenge, 100 miles in a week, and has organised her own virtual challenges to raise money for struggling charities.
Now Ms Sturman is set to support two Norfolk zoos in the battle to save them from closure.
The parkrun coordinator in Thetford, added: “I have grown up with Banham Zoo and Africa Alive which are now under threat of closure and it’s heartbreaking.
“When you’re seeing posts about charities and businesses struggling it’s not making it any easier.
“So, I am organising another virtual run on June 21. In less than 36 hours we had 229 people register and we have raised £1,643.
“It is easy to sit back and be upset with what has happened, but we got up and are doing what we can to help.”
To register for the virtual run visit, www.marafunevents.co.uk