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London Marathon Firsttimer Pauline Taylor“I’m sitting here in tears, I can’t go running because I’ve now got a chest infection. I’m beginning to think that its just not meant to be…I’m going to say a little prayer tonight and hope that I can get over this quickly, I so don’t want to let her down.”

This is a blog entry from first-time marathon entrant Pauline Taylor, a little more a month before the big day.

She is upset because once again, something has affected her health and hindered her training; something is threatening her chances to run for Ellie May, the young girl she’s raising money for; and something is dwindling her chances of running a marathon by the age of 40.

Flash back to December when Pauline received the news that her application to run in the 2006 Flora London Marathon was accepted. “I was over the moon, really surprised,” she said, after missing the opportunity in 2005. “This year, I had two charities (to run for) and I thought, ‘oh blimey, this is all or nothing.'”

Self-motivated and ready to take on the long trek to race-day, Pauline started getting up in the mornings, strapping on her IPOD and hitting the cold streets of Essex, where she and her husband work and live with their two children.

Between a home-run business and two school-aged children, Pauline found it difficult to find time for running, at first. But she realized she simply had to make time for it, and to get through the long workouts, she says she really focuses on her steps and the road.

“I literally watch my very next step all the way,” she said. “I’m beginning to be obsessed with pavement watching.”

Making up her training schedule as she goes, this first-timer simply builds up every week. That is, until she gets sick. First, it was a cold; most recently, a chest infection which set her back with two weeks off from training.

“The thing is, I’m not really often unwell. Of all times for it to hit, was now,” Pauline said. “I felt like I was starting from scratch – it killed me.”

But in addition to running up a few marathon hills before hitting that “over the hill” age of 40, something much more important is driving her. And her name is Ellie May.

In July 2005, a daughter of one of Pauline’s friends developed a grave case of meningitis. At the end of her illness, the 2-year old identical twin – Ellie May – had to have both arms and legs amputated above the joints.

“I was going to run for cancer research for my mum, but when this happened…my mum would have said you have to do it for the baby.”

So Pauline, and five other locals are raising money for a set of prosthetic limbs for the young girl.

Despite setbacks in training, Pauline has gotten back on her training with a renewed energy and ambition to finish those 26.2 miles around London. She has found the marathon training bloggers immensely helpful in keeping up her motivation.

“I have to admit, when you talk to people on the website, it really lifts you,” she said. “People give you tips and support, and some say they’re suffering just the same as you.”

Click here to follow Pauline’s training diary >>

Lauren Burke