Superfit Yorkshire woman takes on seven marathons in seven days for mental health charity

Superfit Imo Boddy is taking on seven marathons in seven days to raise awareness of mental health. Catherine Scott reports.

Imogen Boddy who is running seven marathonsin seven days

Imo Boddy is no stranger to challenges which push her physically and mentally.

During her school years at Queen Margaret’s school in York and Sedbergh school in Cumbria, Imo was renowned for her athletic ability and her physical and mental endurance.

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While at Sedbergh the 21-year-old from Malton even had an endurance event named after her.

Imo Boddy, 21, has struggled with her relationship with food in the past and is raising money for mental health charity Mind

The Boddy Challenge consists of a 10km swim in Lake Windermere, running the Windermere marathon course and then cycling the 25 miles back to Sedbergh from Windermere.

“There was a girl I met at school who’d just done a crazy challenge and it inspired me to do something,” explains Imo.

“I came up with the event myself and decided I wanted to raise money for Cancer Research UK a charity close to the schools heart.”

In the process of the event, Imo helped raise over £8,000 for charity and since its inception in 2017, it has now become an annual event which sees a select few Year 13 girls take on the challenge and raise money for their chosen charities.

Imo is a personal trainer at a gym in London

“They did the event for two years after I left school but last year it had to be cancelled due to the pandemic but I really hope it will go ahead soon,” says Imo. The winner receives a wooden baton inscribed with Imo’s name.

“I am very proud that the school named the event after me – my parents are super proud too.”

Since leaving school in 2017, Imo has gone on to become a qualified Personal Trainer and is based in London.

Like many others across the UK, Imo found herself being furloughed due to the Coronavirus pandemic and with gyms closing during the UK lockdown, she was having to find new methods of training for her and her clients.

Imo from Malton training for her epic running challenge

“I am a self-employed personal trainer but I normally work in a gym. Obviously with the pandemic gyms were closed. I did do some Zoom classes in the first lockdown but the latest one has been a lot harder for a lot of people . But it made me determined that I needed to have some focus.”

Now she is taking on her biggest challenge, running seven marathons in seven days to raise money and awareness of MIND.

“Since the Boddy Challenge, I’d always talked about doing another challenge for a while. As soon as the latest lockdown was announced, that’s when I made my decision,” says Imo.

Having completed the London Marathon in 2019, Imo decided that completing one marathon was not enough, so instead opted to attempt seven marathons in seven days.

“I absolutely loved the London Marathon and I really like pushing myself but I do realise that doing seven marathons back to back is an entirely different matter but I am really looking forward to the challenge.”

Imo has been spending a lot of the last lockdown getting in training for her marathon challenge.

She has been helped by her running coach who is planning to accompany her on two of the seven marathons.

“I’ve already managed to do two marathons in one weekend and quite a few 100km runs so I should be ready for it physically although I know that by marathon three or four it will be tough knowing I still have three or four marathons to complete.”

Her extraordinary effort will begin on Sunday 25 April and take place through the streets and parks of London, with the aim to raise money and awareness for a charity close to Imo’s heart.

She has struggled in the past with an unhealthy relationship with food which she says she has now tackled, but is more than aware how hard the last year has been on people

“Mind is a personal charity to me and the last year has been a real test for everybody’s mental health,” she explains.

“ In the past, I have had an unhealthy relationship with food, and I know my mental health has suffered because of that.

“After the crazy year we have had, I believe that everyone has had their ups and downs and raising awareness of mental health and supporting each other is more important than ever.

“I want to raise awareness about the brilliant work Mind are doing because it is so important, now more than ever.”

The first run starts close to her home in Clapham and take in a lot of the parks. She will be joined on some of the marathons by some of her friends or her running coach.

She aims to raise £10,000 for Mind and is already well on her way having raised more than £8,500.

Her challenge is made even more impressive as with the easing of lockdown restrictions, gyms are now open again.

She said: “Work have been amazing and I am working four times a week and have the week of for the marathons.

“The resilience of the human body is incredible, it can stand almost anything – it’s your mind you have to convince.

“I love having a goal, remaining motivated, challenging myself, pushing my body to its limits and making the most of all opportunities.”

You can support Imo by visiting her donation page and keep up to date with all of her progress via Instagram @imoboddy_fitness