Wedding admin and looking after a baby might be stressful enough, but a local disability support worker and her husband-to-be have made another special vow: to tackle a charity marathon in eight months' time.
Maria Hernández (32) and Chris Andrews (36) – known as ‘Team Spanglish’, as the former is Spanish and the latter from Jersey – will be running through London’s streets on 26 April 2020 to raise funds for Mencap UK and “help people with a learning disability to shine”.
While neither is a frequent runner, Maria and Chris have both been wanting to tick a marathon off their bucket list for a while. Next year's London Marathon therefore seemed the perfect opportunity.
“I have always wanted to do a marathon before my body breaks,” Chris joked, adding: “It’s not far off!”
Pictured: Maria and Chris will be getting married in October.
According to Maria, Chris is the fittest of the pair, as he plays a lot of football, and was recently appointed First Team Coach by the JTC Wanderers Football Club. He has also taken part in a marathon before as part of a relay team.
“I don’t really run,” Maria confessed. “I exercise - I started again recently after having my baby six months ago. I’m also a qualified yoga teacher, but I don’t teach at the moment.”
This is not the first challenge the couple have set themselves. Last year, they had planned to do the Island Walk – which Maria did on her own during her first year in Jersey four years ago, describing it as “a big challenge" – together last year.
However, Maria soon learned she was pregnant with their first child, leaving Chris to walk the 48 miles on his own.
Pictured: Chris and Maria had planned to walk around the island together last year.
This time around, the couple will tackle the challenge together, with Maria joking that Chris might have to leave her behind. “We want to finish it together, but I know if Chris wants to do a good time he can,” she said. “We are doing it together,” Chris interjected.
The couple is hoping to raise £4,000 for Mencap UK. Having worked as a support worker for Les Amis for the past three-and-a-half years, Maria has experienced first-hand how important support is for those with learning disabilities.
On their fundraising page, the couple explain: “With your support we can help more people with a learning disability to shine. Specialist support at the right time is vital in helping people develop the essential skills and confidence to thrive and feel equal in society.”
“We want to achieve this, but we want to help others as well,” Maria said.
Pictured: The couple hope to raise £4,000 for Mencap UK.
With eight months to go, Maria and Chris have plenty of time to get training. But, with a six-month-old baby girl and a wedding to plan for October 2019, they already have a lot on their plate. “We need to try to find the time for it,” Maria said.
“We are training by ourselves,” Chris explained. “We are doing ‘how to do a marathon in 17 weeks’ from a guide on the London Marathon website. We will increase the distance little by little.”
“It is a big challenge because you’re so busy with the baby,” Maria added. “I did a run recently on the treadmill; it was better than I thought it would be. It’s good for yourself if you achieve a marathon.”
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