Nell McAndrew said she has “often thought about pulling out” of this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon after illness and injury interrupted her training.
“The past few months have not been easy. Flu, an injury that went on for around four weeks, sickness bugs with my children as well as various doctor and hospital appointments.
“All in all, the biggest challenge for me has been to just make it to the start line!”
This will be the seventh London Marathon for the model and TV personality who has not run in the event since she set a personal best of two hours, 54 minutes and 39 seconds in 2012.
“I got stuck in to my training and was clocking up plenty of miles on my own in the cold, wind and rain. Determined to put as much effort in as I possibly could.
“Unfortunately, life very rarely goes to plan, especially when children are involved.”
McAndrew had been completing 19-mile training runs but a problem with her right ankle and calf meant she suddenly found she could barely run one mile.
The experience was “so frustrating” but with patience, physio, massage and rest, things have improved although the model said she is relying on her “strong mindset” and general fitness to get her over the finish line on April 28.
McAndrew, who has a 12-year-old son, Devon, and a six-year-old daughter Anya, added: “I have often thought about pulling out and if it wasn’t for the fact that I was committed to supporting three charities Caudwell Children, Cancer Research UK and the Dementia Revolution, I would have pulled out weeks ago.”
Dementia Revolution, the London Marathon’s charity of the year, is a year-long joint campaign from Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society.
“This year’s London Marathon will be in memory of my grandparents who had to suffer with vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s,” she said.
“It will be to celebrate and remember how fortunate my dad is to be a cancer survivor.
“It will be to help continue much needed support for families who are in desperate need of a wheelchair for their child.”
McAndrew added: “I have now come full circle and, with my injuries on the mend as well as both my children’s health much better, I am determined to complete the marathon and raise funds and awareness.
“I may have had a difficult few months but there are so many people who have to cope with far worse every single day.
“When things don’t go right, it just makes me more determined to dust myself off, get stuck in and do it anyway.”
McAndrew, who ran her first London Marathon in 2004, said she wanted to thank everyone who had offered encouragement or sponsorship during around 20 years of fundraising.
She added: “This marathon will be special, emotional and rewarding.
“I hope that my children remember that doing things for other people is important.
“Running with 40,000 other people can be an amazing, life-changing experience, creating life-long lasting memories.
“When things don’t go right in life, don’t give up, just keep on going.”
She added: “The marathon experience really is a journey from beginning your training to crossing the finish line. There’s so many ups and downs.
“So much time to think about everything and your reasons to run.
“This marathon will be more special than ever as just getting to the start has been a huge challenge in itself.
“Good luck to everyone else who is taking part. Especially those whose training hasn’t gone to plan.
“Whatever your reasons to run, believe in yourself. You can do it!”
Sponsor Nell McAndrew at:uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=MissMcAndrew&pageUrl=4