Gill in running number with bramble the dog

Gill in training with bramble the dog!

Gill Hood has enjoyed time with The Green Team through her employer, BlackRock, and is taking on the London Marathon on Sunday 3rd October to raise funds for the work we do.

We caught up with Gill with only a few days to go before she hits the starting line to find out what she loves about running and why she has chosen to support The Green Team.

Why running?

For me, running is fantastic stress buster. It allows me time to focus my mind and to be present in the moment. It doesn’t matter if I run fast or slow, I just concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other and breathing. Since the start of this year it has also been a great way to catch-up with one of my friends and we try to run most Sundays (albeit it slowly because we always have a lot to catch up on!). For the London Marathon 2021, she ran the longer training runs with me up to 14 miles, then my husband stepped in and kept me company including on my final training run of 22 miles. I am incredibly fortunate to have such fantastic people around me that help keep me motivated.

How long have you been running for?

I have run on and off over the years. Sometimes it’s hard to fit it in with the demands of work and home life but I do keep going back to it, even if it’s just to run 5km. I especially love to run on trails and in the countryside and as it really helps to calm my busy mind. A couple of weeks ago I was running in the Pentlands and stopped to watch a deer for a few minutes. I could feel myself smiling inside and out for the rest of the run.

Have you run a marathon before?

Yes, I ran the Loch Ness Marathon in 2019 together with my husband. Thankfully he was game as I entered us both and then told him about it afterwards. The training was hard as we both suffered injuries but we managed to pull it out of the bag on the day and completed the course in 4hrs 46. It’s a stunningly beautiful route that starts South of Fort Augustus and follows the edge of Loch Ness all the way back to Inverness. It is very calm and peaceful so London will be a complete contrast. I have been very disciplined with my training for the London Marathon and managed to remain injury free. I am now really looking forward to enjoying the experience with all the other runners on the day.

Why London?

The London Marathon is iconic and this year it is set to be the biggest marathon staged anywhere in the world. There will be 45,000 runners pounding the streets of London and another 50,000 completing the virtual event in their home locations. I’ve always felt both humbled and incredibly inspired by all the people that run the London marathon to raise much needed funds for charities, so when the opportunity arose to run London for The Green Team I couldn’t say no.

What is your experience of The Green Team?

I was introduced to The Green Team through working at BlackRock. Each employee in our firm is given two volunteering days per year to work with a charity of their choice and I have spent a couple of mine with The Green Team. On one occasion we carried out maintenance on paths in the Penicuik Estate and on another we planted almost 1,500 trees. There is nothing more wonderful than being able to connect with nature and each other by spending time outdoors. It completely changes the dynamic of the group and allows us to get to know each other in new ways. It was through these volunteering experiences that I learned more about the fantastic work The Green Team does with young people.

Why fundraise for The Green Team?

I love that The Green Team recognises the benefits of spending time in nature and particularly for young people, both in terms of their personal well-being and in looking after the environment. It is so important that everyone understands the impact of the footprint we leave and The Green Team’s work provides significant opportunities to educate people of all ages on conservation, together with providing a safe, calm space for us all to connect to ourselves, each other and to nature.

What is your role at BlackRock (if you can explain it easily!)?

I work full-time for BlackRock leading a busy Change Management function, so this has meant I have had to be very disciplined to ensure I balanced work priorities with marathon training.

If you would like to support Gill on her journey and help us to continue to support people to connect with nature, simply click on the link below to visit Gill’s fundraising page. And if you are watching it on TV, look out for runner number 44368 and giver her a cheer!