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Support  Zoe and her family for their London LandMark Half Marathon Run and in reaching their £1000 Fundraising Goal for Quetzal. They fundraised so far £865. Donate now by visiting Zoe Fundraising page.  

Read below Zoe’s journey as Quetzal volunteer community reporter and top half-marathon trainee runner and fundraiser for the London Landmark Marathon, how she persuaded her family to run with her and how through this challenge she learnt that she can achieve anything. 

You can also listen to her recent interview on Leicester Community Radio with Pete Degnan 

Hello, I’m Zoe, a community reporter volunteering at Quetzal; a charity supporting female survivors recovering from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse, one of the runners for the London Landmarks Half Marathon and also a MA student at De Montfort University.  

My Journey at Quetzal as a Volunteer 

I started volunteering for Quetzal at the end of August 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic, to help improve my skills in social media marketing. I was keen to support a local Leicester charity supporting women and I found Quetzal through the DMU Volunteering Site. 

During my time at Quetzal, my main focus was on creating social media posts mainly for their Instagram page to help break the stigma around getting counselling and support after suffering from sexual abuse. I also had the opportunity to improve my public speaking skills by joining the De Montfort University Student Union panel to discuss the importance of volunteering during Student Volunteer Week. Also being nominated by Quetzal to work as a community reporter for the ‘Leicester Stories Project’ which has inspired me to become a journalist, however, my biggest achievement with Quetzal has been the opportunity to run the London Landmarks Half Marathon in August 2021.  

An Opportunity for me and my family to run, train and fundraise together 

In November 2020 Quetzal invited me to take part in the LLHM and told me they had a few spaces left, so I asked my family if they would also like to take part whilst raising money for Quetzal. I persuaded both my parents and my younger sister to join me in taking part in this incredible opportunity, and so far, it has been just that.  

 Then, the Training Started 

Having not ran in years I knew it was going to be a challenge to even run 5k and the thought of running 13 miles seemed very daunting. However, I really enjoyed the training; using Strava to document my progress where I got support from many other runners which really motivated me to keep going, as well as the support me and my family gave each other. After a few months of training, I realised I was faster than I initially thought I was, so I set myself a target of running the LLHM in under two hours.  

This challenge motivated me even more to keep going and train even harder, seeing the support from members of the running community really pushed me to reach my goal. At the end of May 2021, after running numerous half marathons in the two-hour mark, I finally managed to run my first half marathon in under two hours; 1 hour 49 minutes to be exact. This achievement made me realise that once you put your mind to something and work hard enough for it, you really can achieve anything. I plan on running the actual LLHM in this time too, or at least in under two hours, as I expect the weather will be a lot warmer than it was in May. 

A Journey Full of Rewards, Thank You Quetzal! 

I would like to thank Quetzal for giving me this opportunity and the amazing work they do to support people in their journey towards change.   

The training for the LLHM has been extremely rewarding and motivating. I have found a new hobby which I hope to carry on with for as long as I can run, I know that once I complete the half marathon in August, and after a short rest, I will continue running for my own enjoyment and possibly take part in future competitions too when the opportunity arises. I have even been inspired to take part in an ultra-marathon after a few more years of training!  

Taking part in a challenge with my family has been the best part of this entire opportunity, going on runs with my parents and pushing each other to keep going and reach our target has not only been rewarding physically, but also very emotionally rewarding too; knowing that we all have the same passion and targets and that we are all in this together is a great feeling. I hope that after we have completed the half marathon, they aren’t sick of my constant persuading and want to carry on running with me.  

Through this experience, I have also begun to believe in myself more; now knowing that if I put my mind to something, I can achieve it. If you take anything from this article, I hope it is inspiration; whether you have a passion for something already or want to try out something new like I did, keep going or give it a go, give yourself goals and you may end up with a lifelong hobby.   

As this opportunity came from Quetzal, my family and I have also been fundraising. Our goal is to raise £1000 collectively. The funds will support Quetzal to continue providing free counselling support to female survivors aged 16 and above living in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland. So far, we have raised £865, not far to go! Please support us by donating now 


Zoe Alannah Fawkner 

Zoe on Instagram & Linkedin