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EXTRA MILE: Marathon mum from Abbots Langley runs at home

 Published on: 2nd May 2020   |   By: Jake Levison   |   Category: Uncategorized

An Abbots Langley mum who was set to take on the 2020 London Marathon before it was rescheduled last month decided to carry out the challenge in her own back garden. 

Sheila Mills, 51, didn’t spend long sulking after the event was cancelled; instead, she put on her running shoes and decided to run 2.6 miles daily from April 16 until the original marathon date – Sunday, April 26.

The mum-of-three even went the metaphoric ‘extra mile’ by only running in her garden, so that she could also take her dog for a walk every day without breaching the ‘one outdoor activity a day’ policy set by the government. 

Speaking to Sheila midway through the marathon, she said: “It is a bit tedious, as I’m running around 308 lengths in the garden per day – my neighbours must see me and think I’m losing the plot!

“But I wanted to give myself a mission over this period. I lost my husband last May, so this is giving me something to focus on and serving as a bit of a distraction for me. I did so much training for the marathon, so it would have been a shame to waste that. April 26 also just so happens to be my birthday.”

Sheila will still be running the 26.219-mile London Marathon on its rescheduled date in October for a charity close to her heart.

“I’ll be running for the National Deaf Children’s Society. My mum was born with a cleft palate in the 1940’s and lost her hearing aged seven. 

“Times were different back then and she never learned sign language – the disability has made her life very difficult, so I want to raise both funds and publicity for a charity which helps people like her.”

The resilient runner, who has taken part in six 5k runs, a 10k run and a half marathon in recent years, is also hoping her story will inspire others to get going.

She said: “I started doing Couch to 5k five years ago and realised I had some health issues – I couldn’t run for more than a minute. So I built myself up from nothing and now I’m here – if I can get to this point, anyone can.

“I’m getting this exercise in while still doing what I’ve been told to by the government, which is key.”

To donate to Sheila’s page for the London Marathon, go to

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