Rachel Atherton

Rachel's fundraiser for Hospiscare - from Marathons to Machu Picchu

Fundraising for Hospiscare
raised of £5,000 target
by 99 supporters
Event: TCS New York City Marathon 2023, on 5 November 2023
In memory of David Atherton
On 2 November 2024, a team of Hospiscare Heroes will be setting out on the Machu Picchu Trek, in aid of Hospiscare. Hospiscare is a local charity, caring for patients across Exeter, Mid and East Devon.


UPDATE : 12th April 2024

I'm in Boston for the marathon on Monday 15th April...read on for further details!!!

As the supporters of Hospiscare know, life is always full of unexpected challenges and joys.

Last year I decided to sign up for the Machu Picchu Hospiscare fundraising trip that is taking place in November 2024.I am taking a self funded place. Further details https://www.hospiscare.co.uk/events/machu-picchu-trek/

Hospiscare, is a hospice charity providing specialist care to patients and families living with life limiting illness across Exeter, Mid and East Devon.

Thank you to all of you who supported and donated to my New York marathon fundraiser last November. Your donations all went directly to Hospiscare, whose services are reliant on donations - their yearly costs to provide services are approximately £10,000,000 - 82% of this comes from fundraising. Only 18% of funding comes from the statutory body which allocates government funding within Devon. For comparison the national average if 37%. Despite campaigning against this inequality, there is currently no change and a shortfall in funding means services being cut.


The charity will be continuing to fight for fair funding for the essential services they provide in Exeter, Mid and East Devon.

This year I'll be 50 so I thought a trip to Peru and fundraising for Hospiscare along the way was a good way for to mark this special birthday year, one David didn't get and sadly other friends didn't reach.

So where does Boston come in........

Completing New York marathon resulted in my "4th Star" which to my surprise, resulted in me being eligible for a lottery draw run by Abbott World Marathon Major for 1 of 150 invitational place in the Boston Marathon....and I won a place!

Now you may not know but getting a place in Boston is extremely difficult/unlikely in a lifetime! There is no public ballot like London etc. Most people have to be "time qualifiers." Based on my performance to date I wouldn't even qualify if I was an 80 year old woman....their qualifying time is under 5 hrs 20 min! Charity places are few and far between and understandably have a very high minimum fundraising target. So when I won a place, I just took it!

Boston has been a special place to me since I first visited as a 20 year old and visiting my Great Aunt Thelma and her family in Lowell. I've been here 5 or 6 times over the years. The last in September 2019 with my mum and aunt for Thelma's 100th birthday celebrations. Sadly (but not surprisingly she was 100!) Thelma passed away on 26th January 2020 and my brother David on 26th March 2020. Since then, as those who have followed me know I've done marathons in Lympstone/Exmouth, London, Chicago & New York. Whilst a marathon was not (it never is ;-) part of my plan this year.... an opportunity to take part in Boston marathon, is for me a once in a lifetime opportunity that I didn't want to miss, so I took it.

You know by now...I'm not a runner, I'm not consistent with training... I did do most of the first 4 weeks of a 16 week training plan so that was progress ;-) I did a 10k 8 weeks ago and the Hampton Court Half marathon 3 weeks ago so I've not been completely stationary! I discovered a hill near me last week so went out for an hour or two shuffling!

Boston has to be completed in under 6 hours for it to be an official finish....I took 6 hours 2 min 4 seconds for New York, so I need to up my game! I understand that Boston route has a lot of hills!!

My plan as ever was to get to the Start line and then keep going until the finish. Just keep going whatever life has in store.

I arrived in Boston last night. I decided to go to a supermarket across the road from the hotel. I got hit by a car on a crosswalk... it's ok the car was going very very slowly so only minor bruising on my leg. An accident, all ok and the driver very apologetic.. The reason for mentioning 1) my goal is to make it to the start line...which thankfully will be achievable I may stay in hotel until race day ;-) and 2) the crosswalk was on Exeter street! So as Hospiscare based in Exeter, it seemed fitting and made me laugh!.

As ever, if you read this far, hope that it makes you smile and..... please donate if you can. Again!!!

Many thanks



PAST NEWS..........................

4th November 2024.

I've said it before but ....not training for a marathon is one thing, but not taking the opportunity to raise some money for charity would be unacceptable! So here I am..

I didn't think a marathon would be on the agenda in 2023. In January I applied for New York marathon but didn't get a place through the public ballot. Explored a couple of options then forgot about it and thought I'd try it another year. Then about 6 weeks ago I was offered a place... following someone's cancellation. I had 24 hours to decide...

Having considered logistics, a bargain price flight was secured and I accepted the place. Thinking I've got some time to "train"....

Other than the Winter Run 10k back in January (which I struggled with and I thought at the end...how the heck have I ever done a marathon distance!) I haven't really exercised much and running hadn't featured.

I appreciate my form for taking part in marathons with a less conventional approach to training, however when I was at the Expo on Thursday discovering the course route ( it's not a completely flat route, there are long bridges, the second half is more challenging than the first 13 miles, getting to the start line is a challenge in itself!) I wonder not for the first time should I change my approach and/or will New York Marathon be a step too far this time!

Thanks to Regina who lives in New York and an inspiration when it comes to taking part in marathons/half marathons. She unexpectedly took me to the Expo shortly after my arrival - the last and first time we met was in the middle (about mile 15!) of the London Marathon in 2021. She and others there made me feel inspired.

I had a shuffle around Central Park yesterday (3rd Nov), in glorious sunshine (is it actually November?!) and thinking how lucky I am to be here. Storm Ciaran missed London so I managed to get my flight on Thursday morning.

The weather here is due to be sunny and dry on Sunday so that will help. The late start time of 11.30am, the clocks changing here on the 5th of November, the fact I will be shuffling very slower, means this will be a marathon I will finish (fingers crossed) in the dark!

Anyway, if you can spare £1 or more please do donate but if me making it to the start of another marathon ill prepared makes you smile then well that can be a success too. Hospiscare would probably prefer cash though ;-)

Hospiscare is a local hospice charity for my home area- Lympstone, Exmouth, Exeter and the rest of Mid and East Devon and over the 40 years of its existence, they have provided care to many many people living with life limited illnesses and supported their families during that time. In order to continue providing such compassionate end of life care, donations are always needed.

This will be the 4th World Marathon Major I've taken part in. There are 6....

As ever there is an app "TCS New York City Marathon" My bib number is 53,419 so you can follow my progress on that or see whether I finish - it's never a guarantee but I!

My marathon shuffle around Lympstone and Exmouth continues to available on YouTube :-)

"Virtual London marathon 2020..in Lympstone and Exmouth"



If you live in Exeter, Mid or East Devon, Hospiscare is your local adult hospice charity. Should you or a loved one need care for any type of terminal illness, our professional team of doctors and nurses are here to help. Our services are provided irrespective of race, religion, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, mental or physical disability, diagnosis or place of national origin.

About the campaign

On 2 November 2024, a team of Hospiscare Heroes will be setting out on the Machu Picchu Trek, in aid of Hospiscare. Hospiscare is a local charity, caring for patients across Exeter, Mid and East Devon.

About the charity


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RCN 297798
Hospiscare provides free and specialised nursing to the terminally ill in Exeter, Mid and East Devon. It looks after more than 700 patients at any one time, supporting patients in their own homes and in its hospice. It relies on the generosity of the community to provide this vital service.

Donation summary

Total raised
+ £778.25 Gift Aid
Online donations
Offline donations

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