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Cumbrian vicar takes on first London marathon in memory of her dad

A Cumbrian vicar is set to raise thousands of pounds for charity, taking on her first London Marathon in memory of her dad.

Courtesy of Tiree Dawson PhotographyThe Rev’d Michelle Woodcock will run the gruelling 26.2 mile course next month to benefit the British Heart Foundation.

It comes 19 years after Michelle’s father, Geoff, died following a massive heart attack on her birthday.

She said: “Even after all this time we still miss him every day, so I wanted to do something which was positive and in his memory.

“I’m a regular listener to the Chris Evans BBC Radio Two breakfast show and last year he talked about the fact that he’d done the London Marathon. I figured if he could do it then so could I!

“I have always loved running. It’s my way of relaxing and being able to have some thinking time and time with God. Believe me I’ve had plenty of opportunity for that during my training which is going really well.”

Michelle is currently fitting a structured training programme around her work as Team Vicar for Finsthwaite, Haverthwaite and Staveley-in-Cartmel in the Cartmel Peninsula Team.

Following confirmation she was to run in the marathon, the BHF paired her up with an independent training specialist to help build up her endurance levels.

Michelle, a mother-of-two, added: “I’ve been building up in endurance in terms of the amount of time I have to run. I’ve recently been running for 165 minutes which means that covers about 16 miles. I’m running five days a week but, up to now, I’m still enjoying it.”

Courtesy of Tiree Dawson PhotographyThe 41-year-old has previously completed the Great North Run half marathon in 2012, raising £3,000 for the British Heart Foundation.

Michelle added: “Taking part in the Great North Run was overwhelming. I can remember watching a performance from the Red Arrows display team – which my dad used to love –as I was running the course.

“One of the runners went past me as they drew their trademark heart in the sky and said ‘That’s for your dad’. I had to stop crying before I could start running the course again.”

Michelle says she has had huge support from her parishioners as well as the Two Valleys congregation which takes in Crosthwaite, Cartmel Fell, Winster and Withersland and where her husband Michael is Priest-in-Charge.

To date she has received sponsorship of more than £1,000 but has to collect a total of £2,000 in order to be eligible to run for the charity in the marathon.

And all her training means Michelle has had to do away with her preferred footwear.

“I’m well known for my pink high-heeled shoes,” Michelle explained, “but these days you are more likely to see me in a pair of trainers!”

To sponsor Michelle please visit her fundraising page at

Notes for editors
For more on the British Heart Foundation visit



For further information please contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Communications Manager on 07469 153658, 01228 815401 or at

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