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Fundraising heroes: Judith and Paul Kippax

Our VIP winner shares her marathon fundraising history

Judith and Paul smiling with their Virgin Money London Marathon medals

Judith Kippax, the winner of December’s VIP Virgin Money London Marathon prize draw, shares her incredible history with the biggest race on the planet.

Congratulations on winning the VIP Virgin Money London Marathon prize draw.

Thank you, it’s wonderful news. The only other thing I’ve ever won was a box of chocolates in a raffle when I was 15.

How many times have you run the Virgin Money London Marathon?

This will be my fifth. I had a running club place in 2013, then I had two places with Good For Age – I was able to run a lot faster a few years ago – and then last year I had a charity place because I specifically wanted to fundraise in memory of my mother who died in 2018. I ran for an arthritis charity as my mother had dealt with the condition all her adult life.

And you are running again for charity this year. Who are you raising money for?

I am running for, a charity that was very special to my mother. When I ran in 2019, I was so happy to see banners for Contact and knew I wanted to run for them in 2020. My mother trained in child health and development, recognizing children with developmental problems or disabilities, who had very little support back then. She heard of this charity, which was then called Contact a Family, which was offering help and support to families. She was so impressed she set up a branch in Gloucestershire. That was 40 years ago and I'm so happy to be fundraising for a charity that was very close to my mother's heart a long time ago, and for the incredible work they are still doing.

You and your husband, Paul, have an incredible history of fundraising at the Virgin Money London Marathon. Can you tell us about it?

The first time I ran it was for Fight for Sight because my husband has had difficulties in one eye since a childhood accident. My husband saw me run and said "This is marvellous. I want to do this." He was over the moon to get a ballot place in 2015. He signed up to fundraise for Cancer Research UK because just after he got his place I was diagnosed with my second breast cancer. So that was a bit of a blow. I struggled with my training through January and February because of two surgeries but I ran in April anyway. Now I’m cancer-free, touch wood.

Did running help you both through your health problems?

I think it's very subjective, really. I first had breast cancer back in 1992. It was a bit of a shock all those years ago, being so young. This time around it was like, ‘Oh bother’, but I was quite blasé about it really. I'm not the sort of person to sit at home and dwell, thinking ‘woe is me’. I had some surgery. I had a bit more surgery. Then once I’d recovered from that I thought ‘let's go out for another run’. Paul is the same. He had an operation late last year to remove his eye. Now he’s getting on with his training.

And the Virgin Money London Marathon finish line is a special place for both of you…

Yes, we got engaged on the finish line on 26th April 2015, just after I'd had my breast cancer treatment. Paul proposed on the finish line, which was lovely. There were lots of people around, but everybody was wrapped up in their own little bubble – they’ve just finished a marathon after all – so it was a moment for just the two of us, and the marshal that Paul had asked to take pictures for us. This year the race is on 26th April again. So, five years to the day, we'll be running together again.

Judith and Paul Kippax - Proposing at the Virgin Money London Marathon finish line

To read more about Judith and Paul’s fundraising stories and to donate to their causes you can visit their Virgin Money Giving pages - Judith's page and Paul's page.

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