Gemma Merna takes up running to raise money for charity

by PDSA | 29 September #Guestblog

Former Hollyoaks actor and wellness coach Gemma Merna is taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday, 3 October, to raise funds for PDSA.

Gemma admitted she is not a natural runner and wasn’t into running before the pandemic.

She said: “I couldn’t 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 the various lockdowns.”

Gemma has a background in practising yoga, meditation and is also a wellness coach. Her experience has supported her training and has helped her mentally prepare for daily runs.

The motivation behind training for her first marathon comes from a love for pets.

Gemma said: “My dogs are my best friends, and I believe they have taught me what unconditional love is. Cole, my St. Bernard, is nearly thirteen. He suffers from a heart condition and is on many medications. 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. It’s the reason I’m raising money for PDSA.”

She added: “I recently lost my beloved thirteen-year-old dog, Phoebe. Losing her has been utterly devastating, but she will always remain in my heart, and I’ll cherish all the memories we had together.”

Her passion for yoga and meditation has even rubbed off on her dogs. She said: “My dogs have their own yoga mats, and they love meditation! I’ve been holding weekly yoga and meditation classes to help fundraise for PDSA.”

Gemma added: “I have found 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.”

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

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