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Dedicated duo take on marathon challenge

A dedicated duo who work for Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) will take on a marathon challenge this spring when they lace up their trainers and pound the pavements of the capital to raise vital charity cash.

Senior Research Facilitator Tom Rhodes and Jo Williams, who is a Clinical Studies Officer, will both run in their first London Marathon on 24 April.

Tom, who lives near Norwich, hopes to raise a minimum of £2,000 for Tommy’s, which funds research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. It comes after his son Stanley was born seven weeks’ early last December after his wife Shell developed a condition called obstetric cholestasis during pregnancy.

Jo, who also lives in Norwich, is raising money for mental health research charity MQ, and is aiming to bag £2,500 by the time she hits the start line in April. She chose her charity as she is passionate about the power that research has to give us a better understanding of mental health issues, and manages trials herself as part of her job at NSFT.

“I’ve always wanted to do the London Marathon and had applied for the past five years but not been able to get a place,” said Tom, 29. “That’s when I decided to look into charity places and Tommy’s was the obvious cause to support.

“No one really knows why some women develop obstetric cholestasis during pregnancy, which is why research is so important. Shell’s condition led to Stanley's early arrival and although he was born without any major complications, he spent 12 days in the neonatal intensive care unit and was finally allowed home just before Christmas.

“I am thankful to have a healthy and happy family and know that without previous research into this area, we may not have been as fortunate. This is why I want to raise money for such a fantastic charity that helps fund research towards stillbirth, premature birth and miscarriages.

“I’ve done bits and pieces of running over the years and did my first half marathon in Norwich in November. I’m hoping to complete the marathon in about four and a half hours so will need to keep up the hard work over Christmas and not take my foot off the pedal too much.”

Although 27-year-old Jo has already completed a marathon training plan after helping her partner prepare for London last year, she has yet to take part in her first race.

She said: “I started running about two years ago after giving up smoking, and decided I wanted to complete the marathon after seeing the fantastic atmosphere and amazing support which the crowds gave to the runners last year.

“I am excited and nervous at the same time, and just want to finish it at a steady speed and make sure I soak up the atmosphere.

“Mental health research is really important to me. In my job, I recruit patients to take part in studies and manage trials, so I see how challenging and under-funded this area is, as well as its importance, every single day. I now hope I can raise as much as possible for this worthwhile cause.”

To sponsor Tom, visit or text STAN77 £5 to 70070

To support Jo, go to  ​