Sunday 22 April 2018 was a significant day in Jess Wellington’s life. Not only did she run her first ever marathon but she also got engaged on the finish line! Jess has been a star fundraiser for Newlife over the last 18 months, beginning with securing a 12-month fundraising partnership between Newlife and her then employer. Halfway through the year Jess decided to sign up to Newlife’s marathon team.
“I made the decision to run the London Marathon for Newlife about a year ago, in honour of my Grandad”, said Jess a few days after her marathon success. “He sadly passed away about six months before that, but I wanted the great stuff he had done during his life to live on! Newlife is very cherished in our family, and Grandad was a huge supporter of them.”
Jess’s commitment to training and fundraising has been phenomenal. She said: “I’d never been a runner and wasn’t able to run a whole mile without stopping! So I thought I’d start with a marathon!”
In record heat on marathon day, Jess ran an amazing time of 5 hours, 34 minutes and has raised almost £6,000 for Newlife, every penny of which will go towards providing vital equipment for disabled children in Devon and Cornwall.
Jess said: “I have whole heartedly LOVED fundraising! From art sales and raffles, to head shaves and music concerts – I have had a blast. But seeing how effectively raising money for an amazing cause brings people together has been absolutely heart-warming. I’m so proud and thankful to all those who have donated or acted to raise money. They are all heroes.”
Jess’s experience did not end at the finish line, however. “Before I knew it, I was crossing the finishing line and tearfully, joyously, making my way to my family! I was passed around for (slightly sweaty) cuddles, and the next thing I knew, my boyfriend was on one knee in front of me asking me to marry him! Of course I said yes!! Well no, I didn’t. I sobbed and nodded and needed to sit down! He’s been there for me throughout all of this, and it was the perfect end to the perfect day.
A beautiful ring and engagement and a stunning medal all in one day! On top of that, a huge amount of money for a truly wonderful cause. The BEST day of my life with so much happiness and love – far outweighing the pain!!!”