Windhill21 Primary School pupils' Santa Dash for London Marathon teachers Charlotte Topcott and Olivia Kilby
A Santa Dash by pupils at a Bishop's Stortford primary school raised £324 for two teachers training to run in the London Marathon.
The children danced, skipped and sang their way around Windhill21's field wearing festive accessories. They managed to complete the event on Monday December 19 before a power cut curtailed lessons.
Charlotte Topcott and Olivia Kilby joined their charges for the early-morning Christmas caper and dressed as Santa’s elves to add to the merriment. They said: “It was a great way to start the day!”
Hertfordshire-born Charlotte, 27, has been teaching at Windhill21 for three years, following a stint as a teaching assistant in London, and is in charge of Year 3.
She will be running the 2023 TCS London Marathon on April 23 to raise money for children's charity Barnardo’s.
“As a primary school teacher, my life is all about children," she said. "For the last six years I've been lucky enough to work in schools across London and Hertfordshire, witnessing first-hand the true resilience of children.
“I hope to inspire children to believe that no matter what hurdles you have, be it past, present or future, we are still capable of achieving great things and there is no limit to our potential.”
Year 2 teacher Olivia, 26, has been at Windhill21 for four years and is originally from Norfolk. She will be running 26.2 miles through the capital in aid of Parkinson's UK.
“It's a charity that is extremely close to my and my family's hearts," she said. "My nan was diagnosed with Parkinson's and I've seen first-hand the pain it can cause.
“To find a cure would be incredible, and it would mean that the suffering Parkinson's causes would become a thing of the past.
“Running a marathon is no easy feat, and the journey to get 'marathon ready' is sure going to be a challenge, but nothing makes me feel prouder than being able to say that I'm running for my nan. It makes this bucket list adventure all the more worth it.”
Neither of the women has tackled a marathon before, but they were inspired to take it on after colleague Jasmine Crawford ran in the 2022 event, raising money for the British Heart Foundation.
Both entered the race ballot. Olivia was shocked to secure a place while Charlotte was allocated a charity spot.
They have been regularly running 5km and 10km and said: “Training is going really well and we're getting more and more excited. It's been getting trickier with the cold, dark nights, but the new head torches are lighting the way. We've not yet run together but plan to from January.”
To support Charlotte, see https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/charlotte-topcott. To support Olivia, see https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/olivia-kilby.