Marathon Q&A with the Kennedy’s
Anne-Marie, teacher at St Ignatius College Enfield, and Andy Kennedy, deputy headmaster at St John’s Beaumont are a married couple from Chingford North East London and will be joining the Jesuit Missions London Marathon team this Sunday 22nd April to take on the 26.2 mile challenge. We asked them a few questions to see how they were feeling about the big day.
Why did you decide to run the London Marathon this year?
Anne-Marie: Having grown up in London I have always watched people run the London marathon and thought wow!! It has always been a challenge that just seemed to be impossible. Last year I realised that the only reason it was impossible was because I was making it that way. I am an outdoor adventurous person, but I was equally good at finding excuses to not do the big challenges. In 2017 I decided that I needed to face my fears and undertake what will probably be the biggest physical and mental challenge I can put myself through to prove to myself that I could do it. I have gone into it with the motto completing not competing to remind myself that it’s not about the time that it takes to complete or the pace that I run each mile, but the incredible opportunity Jesuit Missions has given me.
Andy: Having turned 40 this year I thought it would be a perfect way to mark this significant milestone in my life, as well as spend some quality time with Anne-Marie! I have had the privilege of 19 years as both man and boy in Jesuit schools. I firmly believe that anyone who has benefited from Jesuit education always has at the forefront of their mind; ‘service to others’.
Have either of you run a marathon before?
Anne-Marie: This will be my first ever marathon, but hopefully not my last. Running has given me far more than I ever expected, and I hope that this will be a whole new lifestyle for me going forward. It would be great to run another marathon for Jesuit Missions in the future.
Andy: I have had the privilege of running the London marathon on 3 previous occasions; albeit many moons ago when I was a young buck and not the man trying to keep middle age spread at bay today. On each occasion I supported charities and have a PB of 4 hours 30 minutes. Completing is the only aim on this occasion.
What is your previous involvement, if any, with Jesuit Missions?
Anne-Marie: Running for Jesuit Missions was very important for me. Every day at St Ignatius College we ask God in our prayers to teach us to be generous, and I personally wanted to put this into action and try to make a difference to the lives of others. The boys in our community look to us as staff to be role models and they have been fantastic supporters of my decision to run the marathon for a charity very close to all of our hearts.
Andy: As both a pupil at St Ignatius College, a member of staff and now Deputy Headmaster at St John’s Beaumont, I hold a close relationship with Jesuit Missions, albeit indirectly. In both Jesuit schools, considerable focus is given to supporting the work of Jesuit Missions, as we are a part of a very special, unique global family.
How has your training been going; have you been training together or separately?
Anne-Marie & Andy: Training was much slower than hoped and only really kicked in properly when our best friend John Dawson kept completing super distances in great times. We knew we needed to get moving and John was our motivator. Prior to Easter we had been training separately, although Andy would often come and pick me up when I ran too far away or when I found a new coffee shop enroute!! Last week we completed a 10K run to King Cross together which was the first run that we had completed together in years. It was fantastic to be running together and today we challenged ourselves more by running from our home in Chingford into London and across Tower Bridge. This equated to a half marathon. Running with Andy makes the experience far more enjoyable as we motivate and challenge each other … and have a few arguments over which direction is best!
How do you feel about the big day; will you be running it together?
Anne-Marie & Andy: We are going to run together. Working as a team is important to us, supporting each other throughout. I would say that I am more nervous than Andy about the big day, as it is the unknown of that final part of the marathon, and whether I will hit that dreaded wall that I keep hearing about.
How have you found the fundraising aspect?
Anne-Marie & Andy: If we are honest; much harder than anticipated. It worries us that we have not hit our target yet. The generosity of people has been incredible, and we have really appreciated all the support we have received. We have been selling chocolate bars and crisps in the staffroom and this has helped raise some money. Andy enjoys making chilli jam and these too have sold quickly in the staffroom. The plan is to keep the staff tuck shop going so we can continue contributing towards Jesuit Missions beyond the marathon, and hopefully, eventually hit our target of £4000.
What are you most looking forward to on race day?
Anne-Marie: Being part of the event and not just sitting there watching it and thinking I could never do that!!
Andy: Crossing the finish line with my wonderful wife, knowing we have achieved this great feat together and having raised money for such a worthy cause.
What are you dreading the most on race day?
Anne-Marie: Honestly …needing to stop for the toilet and there being a huge queue!! And hitting that wall!!
Andy: Docklands, as I recall this is where things started to get tough, though the crowd were amazing. Oh, and having to wait for Anne-Marie to use the facilities!
To support Anne-Marie and Andy in their London Marathon challenge, please visit their fundraising page.