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"A memory I will always treasure"

Fri 25 May 2018

Headway Hero and 2018 runner, Joanna Rhydderch, shares her London Marathon story, including some handy tips on training and fundraising.

Headway Hero and 2018 runner, Joanna Rhydderch, shares her London Marathon story, including some handy tips on training and fundraising.

Joanna Rhydderch has always wanted to take part in the London Marathon.

Joanna Brown with a brain model in her London Marathon t-shirt“It’s always been a goal of mine but after I sustained an acquired brain injury in 2015 the ambition to run 26.2 miles became even stronger” said Joanna.

Whilst out running in 2015, Joanna suffered an acute subdural haematoma which required emergency surgery. Scans and tests have not been able to provide an explanation for Joanna’s brain injury but doctors have assured her it had nothing to do with running.

With the help of Headway, Joanna’s recovery has been rapid and remarkable, so much so, she felt more determined than ever to get back running and take on the Virgin Money London Marathon.

“I wanted to run for Headway because I am a brain injury survivor myself and I wanted to find a way of raising awareness and giving something back.” said Joanna.

Joanna’s application for a Headway charity place in the 2018 London Marathon was successful and this marked the start of her fundraising and training journey.

Joanna started her fundraising early and had a plan of action. She wrote to local supermarkets to organise collection days but the majority of her fundraising took place online.

Joanna shared her online fundraising page widely on social media and provided a link to it in her email footer. She also wrote a blog about her training and arranged for her progress to be shared on her employer’s internal webpage:

“I can’t stress enough the importance and appeal of your training. People love to hear all about how it’s going and how you are coping with all the long runs” she said.

So how did Joanna cope with the long runs? She researched training plans and found one that allowed her to fit her fundraising and training around work and a baby. Joanna has one top tip for keeping motivated when training for a marathon:

“Try to mix up your runs so you are not running in the same place and getting bored. I ran along coastal paths, canals, mountain roads and all over town. Variety is the spice of life!”

Joanna’s hard work and training paid off and when the big day came round she completed the marathon in 5:15:10 which is no mean feat in 24 degree heat! She also managed to raise a staggering £4,312.53 for Headway and the total is still rising.

Joanna reflects on her experience of running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Headway:

“London is the ultimate marathon location; there are historical landmarks and a carnival atmosphere. What’s not to like?

"It was an awesome experience, a memory I will always treasure."

If you’ve been inspired by Joanna’s story and would like to apply for a Headway place in the Virgin Money London Marathon 2019. Please visit the CRunCH website to register your interest.

For more information please contact the fundraising team at


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Headway - the brain injury association is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (Charity no. 1025852) and the Office of the Scottish Regulator (Charity no. SC 039992). Headway is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England no. 2346893.

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