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London Marathon: Emma Abegglen’s mission to run 346km – 1km for every £100 it costs to raise and train a Guide Dogs puppy





For London Marathon entrant Emma Abegglen, this year’s event will represent the climax of an eight-month running schedule that’s been so much more than just about completing 26.2 miles (42.2km).

When she crosses the finish line on April 21, she will have clocked up 346km since last summer – 1km for every £100 it costs to raise a guide dog puppy for a person with sight loss.

And Emma, a puppy raiser herself, is just over a third of the way to her target of raising £3,460 for the charity Guide Dogs.

Emma Abegglen with Kira, the Guide Dogs puppy she is raising, after the 20-mile Milton Keynes Festival of Running
Emma Abegglen with Kira, the Guide Dogs puppy she is raising, after the 20-mile Milton Keynes Festival of Running

“It costs £34,600 to raise and train a guide dog,” said Emma, 55, who is head of computer science at Bishop’s Stortford College.

“Almost two million people in the UK live with sight loss having a significant impact on their daily lives. Of those, 180,000 rarely leave their homes.”

As puppy raisers, Emma’s family – she lives with husband Claude and daughter Melanie on the Bishop’s Park estate – are only too aware of the impact guide dogs can have on the lives of the visually impaired.

London Marathon runner Emma Abegglen taking part in Sunday’s London Landmarks Half Marathon
London Marathon runner Emma Abegglen taking part in Sunday’s London Landmarks Half Marathon

“We started to puppy raise in July 2022 and our first puppy, Quincey, is now fully qualified and working in London,” said Emma. “Our second puppy, Kira, joined the family in July 2023 and is learning to be a well-behaved dog.

“Bishop’s Stortford is home to a growing number of Guide Dogs puppies in training, and the local businesses and general public are always hugely supportive of the puppy raisers, allowing us to train the dogs in shops, cafés and restaurants, as well as how to interact with people.”

Since last August, Emma has completed 299km of races, consisting of 11 parkruns (5k each), four 10km races, one 10-mile race, six half-marathons – including Sunday’s London Landmarks Half – and the 20-mile Milton Keynes Festival of Running.

“My final 47km will come from Castle Park parkrun on Saturday [April 13] and the London Marathon. In addition to these races, I’ve now clocked up over 600km in training runs, over half of which have been in the rain!”

Emma Abegglen in the London Landmarks Half Marathon: “A very windy run but I still got round in under two hours with the support of a cuddly puppy on my right shoulder and another on my belt containing vital supplies.”
Emma Abegglen in the London Landmarks Half Marathon: “A very windy run but I still got round in under two hours with the support of a cuddly puppy on my right shoulder and another on my belt containing vital supplies.”

The London Marathon will hold no surprises for asthma sufferer Emma as she ran it last year in 5:23:04, raising £2,331 for Team Breathe – Asthma & Lung UK.

She added: “Covid had a huge impact on the guide dog breeding programme and the charity is working extremely hard to increase the number of dogs available, both for new guide dog owners and to replace retiring animals.

“Guide dogs are amazing animals, and the charity is totally reliant on donations from the public. Anything you can contribute to my fundraising would be hugely appreciated.”

To help Emma, visit https://www.justgiving.com/page/emma-abegglen-1692094913914.



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