Kenilworth woman keeps decade-long pledge to run marathon for local charity

By James Smith

28th Mar 2024 | Running

Milla Dent is running the London Marathon this year (image supplied)
Milla Dent is running the London Marathon this year (image supplied)

A Kenilworth woman is set to honour a 10-year pledge by competing in the London Marathon for a national sports charity based in Warwickshire.

Milla Dent cycled from one side of the country to the other while a pupil at King's High School in Warwick to raise money for British Blind Sport – the national sports charity for children and adults with sight loss – and promised to raise more funds for the Leamington-based organisation.

Now, a decade later, she has won an entry to the London Marathon in April and will be representing British Blind Sport in the event which attracts more than 50,000 runners.

The 25-year-old is aiming to complete the London Classics in 2024 which means adding Ride London and Swim Serpentine to the marathon.

She said: "British Blind Sport does fantastic work in helping blind and partially sighted people to get active and play sport and thereby live more active and fulfilling lives. I heard about the organisation at school and cycled the C2C route with my friend Lucy Abell to raise funds on their behalf.

"I said that I would help them at some stage in the future and now – with school and university done and dusted – felt like the right time to do my first marathon.

"I saw what British Blind Sport did to help make the 2023 International Blind Sport Federation World Games such a success in the summer, and at the same time I was doing more and more running, so it seemed like a natural thing to do.

"That said, I am not sure quite how it has mushroomed into doing the three main challenge events in London!"

Milla's employer Kraft Heinz has already pledged £1,000 towards the £2,500 she needs to raise for the marathon, and she has also set up a Just Giving page.

"I am really grateful to Kraft Heinz and everyone else who has donated, but I still have a long way to go," she said.

"It was fitting that one of the first people to sponsor me was Lucy, who is a keen runner herself and has competed in triathlons with me. We have stayed close, so it was great to see her name pop up!"

Milla's fundraising is helping to support the same aims of the See Sport Differently campaign that British Blind Sport has partnered with RNIB on, which aims to tackle findings where one in two blind and partially sighted people feel that having sight loss stops them from exercising as much as they would like to, with one in three saying there are sports they want to try but have been unable to.

Lucy Beattie-Cooper, head of business development at British Blind Sport, added: "As a charity we rely on donations to support us in our aim to break down barriers to sport and exercise for the two million people in the UK who are currently living with sight loss – so we are thrilled to have the backing of Milla.

"Hosting the world's largest sporting event for blind and partially sighted athletes – the IBSA World Games – in the UK last year demonstrated to the world the sporting talents of those with sight loss and why there needs to be a level playing field of opportunity – and every bit of funding and fundraising we receive is going to play a key part in helping to ensure we build a strong legacy from these Games where more people with sight loss are engaging in exercise and sport.

"We wish Milla the best of luck in her fundraising challenge and can't wait to find out how she gets on."

For more information on Milla's fundraising challenge visit her JustGiving page and for more information about British Blind Sport visit the website.


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