Following his fifth London Marathon, Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns tells us how the day went and explains why he chose to support Breast Cancer Now this year.

Monday 25 April 2016      Policy and campaigns blog Challenge events blog

Last year, 5,264 of you emailed your General Election candidates, asking them to become Breast Cancer Ambassadors. We now have nearly 200 in Parliament and we’re delighted that Alun Cairns MP chose to make a difference by running the London Marathon for us. In this blog he tells us about his experience...

One in a million

Sunday was my fifth London Marathon, but it was still the most magical experience. The crowds are three or four deep from the start line all the way to the finish and I know lots of people say this, but there really is nothing else like it. To be part of the one million made it even more special.

I ran for two charities this year: The Brain Tumour Charity and Breast Cancer Now. I chose Breast Cancer Now because local residents recommended it to me and I know it’s a disease that affects people in my area. 122 women are diagnosed with and 20 women die from breast cancer every year in the Vale of Glamorgan Local Authority, which is clearly too many.

In February, I had the pleasure of meeting two representatives, Pam and Rosina, from the Cardiff and Vale Breast Cancer Now Group. It’s always great to meet my constituents and I was pleased to learn more about the charity’s work. Breast Cancer Now’s aim is that by 2050, everyone who develops breast cancer will live, and I’m really keen to do my bit.

Hard work, determination and a healthy dose of competition

Alun Cairns

In the run up to the event I worked hard to promote my involvement, in order to raise as much money as possible. This included lots of local press and an appearance on Daily Politics with two of my colleagues, Dan Jarvis MP and Amanda Solloway MP. You can watch the clip on the BBC website.

There were 8 MPs, including myself, taking part in this year’s London Marathon. Some were first-timers and for others it was their 10th race. I’ve been told that I’m the first serving Cabinet Minister to take part, which is perhaps unsurprising because juggling work and training can be a real challenge – something I know a lot of people can appreciate.

I managed to cross the finish line in a PB of 3:28:02. Over the years I’ve become more competitive when it comes to times, so I was absolutely delighted to finally dip under 3:30:00. Retaining my title as the fastest MP was a bonus! I’m now exhausted and, I suspect like many of my fellow runners, looking forward hanging up my trainers for a bit.

I’m really pleased that I’ve been able to raise over £5,000 so far for two fantastic causes. It makes all those long, cold winter runs worth it and I can’t thank people enough for their kind donations. I raised over £8,000 for the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) and Macmillan last year, so hopefully there’s still time to beat that.

Is another London Marathon on the cards?

Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if you found me lining up on the start line again in 2017. I had another fantastic experience yesterday and hope that all the other members of Team Now did too.

To sponsor Alun, please visit his Virgin Money Giving Page.

We’d like to say a big thank you to Alun, and the rest of Team Now, for their incredible efforts on Sunday.

More information

Inspired by Alun's story? Find out how to apply for a charity place in the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon