Bedford daughter’s promise leads husband and wife duo to take on iconic London run

They are raising money for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

A woman from Bedford who vowed she would one day run the TCS London Marathon in her mum’s memory will lace up her trainers alongside her husband this month.

Cath, 43, and Ali McDougall, 33, will complete the 26.2 miles together on Sunday, April 21, having already reached their £5,000 fundraising target for Sue Ryder, the charity that cared for Cath’s mum in the final weeks of her life.

“My mum was at Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in Moggerhanger in 2010 from the start of March to the end of April. It was in the final week of her life; I was sitting in her room, and I was watching the London Marathon on TV. I said to her, ‘I promise you one year I will run the marathon and I will raise money for the hospice who cared for you so well’,” shared Cath.

Cath and Ali are getting set to take on the iconic London run this AprilCath and Ali are getting set to take on the iconic London run this April
Cath and Ali are getting set to take on the iconic London run this April

“I was offered a place that year, but emotionally and physically I just wasn’t ready. I kept on getting injured and in the end, I had to give my place up. Then last year, Ali and I spoke about it again. I felt fit enough and strong enough to take on the challenge,” she added.

With every stride, Cath and Ali will be remembering the care of the Sue Ryder hospice staff which Cath says extended not only to her mum but to her family too.

“There are lots of reasons I wanted to run for Sue Ryder. Before Mum went into the hospice for end-of-life care in 2010, she had received respite support. I remember her being looked after her so brilliantly then and she left feeling well and able to carry on.

“It was when she deteriorated, and I couldn’t care for her at home that I saw how incredible the care was not just for Mum but for us as a family too. It sounds silly but the tea and coffee were for us too. We could use the facilities and go out into the garden together. I would even stay over at the hospice with Mum too." Cath added.

This will be the first time the couple has run a marathon and they both agree that this has been one of the most challenging things they have ever taken on.

Ali shared. “I used to do powerlifting for three or four years, so I only really got into running last year when I completed Hyrox London followed by a half marathon the next day. I raised around £500 for Sue Ryder at the time.

“I think we both underestimated how much time training for a marathon absorbs – especially when two people in one household are trying to run three or four times a week. We take it in turns, one of us runs while the other does the weekly shop, or the other runs while we get things done around the house.

"No one tells you about running in the winter and in all sorts of weather when you sign up to a marathon too -I think they say winter miles, summer smiles," Ali adds.

"Not to mention the black toenails. When I have completed the marathon the first thing I will do is get a pedicure." Cath jokes.

“We both have training plans, but they vary slightly. I want to get to 20 miles by marathon day whereas Ali wants to reach 22.

"We started with four runs a week 3k and 5k at the weekend, and gradually built up the distance. We both go to a run club which is nice as we get to run with other people. We both road run around the local area,” she continues.

The couple has been supported by friends, family, and colleagues to help them to reach their £5,000 fundraising goal.

They also went the extra mile with their fundraising and held a curry night event which raised thousands of pounds as well as a local pub quiz.

“We’ve been able to share the fundraising which has been great and having both our friends and family at our curry night helped as we easily managed to fill the event,” the pair shared.

“We take on different roles, Cath setting up whereas I was in charge of sourcing the raffle prizes,” adds Ali. “We are also both good at baking, so we took some sweet and unhealthy treats to the quiz and sold those too,” they continued.

Green Light Consultancy Group, where Ali is Managing Director, has also supported the running duo by match funding some of the money the couple raised.

“We wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated to our fundraising total as well as to the business who gave us raffle prizes for our curry night.

“Leicester Tigers who donated a signed ball and Bedford Blues who gave us a signed playing top. Our friends and family were generous too. Elle K Rem Hair donated a cut and blow-dried and a friend at Rossetti Aesthetics Bedford gave us a prize of hydro facials.

“We had an MOT and a boiler service and so much more – over 50 raffle prizes for our curry night in total! The curry house (Indian Summer) donated back some of the money we paid for the food on the night too,” Ali and Cath added.

When asked what they are looking forward to the most when they finally get to race day in April, Cath said: “As well as the promise I made to Mum, running the London Marathon is something I have always wanted to do. I want to experience what it’s like being able to run along the middle of the busy city roads. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!”

If you’re inspired by Cath and Ali's story and would like to run the London Marathon for Sue Ryder in 2025, visit the website here.