Soap star and wellness coach Gemma Merna takes on marathon mission for charity

26 March 2021

Animal lover Gemma laces up her trainers for PDSA

Former Hollyoaks actress, Gemma Merna, is taking on her first-ever marathon mission as she sets her sights on completing the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 3 October for PDSA.

Animal lover Gemma is planning to take on a virtual half marathon this April as part of her training and fundraising effort.

The Liverpool-based soap star and yoga teacher is taking on the 26.2 mile challenge to raise vital funds for PDSA, to enable us to continue to help sick and injured pets whose owners struggle to pay for vet care.

With a gruelling training programme in place to help her cross the finish line, Gemma is hoping animal lovers will support her mission to raise over £2,000 for PDSA on her JustGiving page.

Gemma said: “My three dogs, Cole, Paige and Phoebe are my world and I utterly adore them. They are my best friends and I believe they have taught me what unconditional ‘love’ is. Cole, my St.Bernard, is nearly thirteen and suffers from a heart condition and is on a lot of medication. I know how much vet bills cost and I can’t imagine someone’s much-loved pet going through the same and not being able to afford treatment when they need it most.”

Gemma confesses she is not a natural runner and only started running at the beginning of the pandemic.

“I couldn’t even run ten minutes without stopping. It was a real struggle but gradually I’ve built up my running time and I’ve found it’s massively helped with my mental health throughout lockdown.”

Using her experience as a yoga, meditation and wellness coach, Gemma has found the skills to support with her marathon training.

She adds: “I use daily meditation to get myself ready for my runs; I use it to keep positive intentions and it helps to keep me calm. I find running like mental gymnastics that comes with a lot of self-doubting thoughts, but with meditation I understand they are just thoughts and let them pass .I just need to keep my attention on my breath and intention. Yoga it’s the perfect recovery to stretch out my body after training sessions.

“My dogs even have their own yoga mats and they love meditation! I’m planning on holding yoga and meditation classes with pets, to help fundraise for PDSA.

“I find the stronger you get with your running the stronger your mind gets. Each run is completely different and you just have to accept it, just as each day is different. I have massively fallen in love with running and it’s something I want to always do.”

PDSA Fundraising Manager, Amy Wareing-Reid, said: “Gemma’s inspiring marathon effort means many pets will receive the vital care and life-saving treatment they need and we’re enormously grateful to have her support. We’ll be cheering Gemma and the rest of Team PDSA’s runners along the course and I hope local animal lovers will support her too.”

“At PDSA our veterinary care is a lifeline to so many owners across the UK and we rely on kind supporters like Gemma to be able to continue our vital work. Pets have provided invaluable comfort and companionship to so many during these challenging times and we believe no pet should suffer because of financial hardship. We’re so grateful to Gemma for her support, which is needed now more than ever.”

To support Gemma’s marathon mission to raise £2,000 for PDSA, head to her fundraising page.

Support Gemma's Marathon mission

and help raise money for poorly and vulnerable pets across the UK.