Dartmouth Park fitness fans have a Cannes-do attitude for their next challenge

Sara and Roger Black, pictured in Central Park after completing the New York marathon.

Sara and Roger Black, pictured in Central Park after completing the New York marathon. - Credit: Archant

A pair of long-distance running enthusiasts have returned from New York after completing their third marathon in seven months – and they are already planning their next charity fundraising challenge.

Roger and Sara Black, from Dartmouth Park, have barely had time to catch their breath since racing in America at the beginning of this month – but they are looking ahead to the ‘Cycle to Cannes’ event in March.

Sara, who completed the New York marathon in three hours 15 minutes, first became involved with long-distance running after joining a triathlon club.

“After my first child, I wanted to do something for charity. I saw the London Triathlon on television, and, on a whim, I thought I’d enter,” she told Ham & High Sport.

“Upon joining a triathlon club, and starting to train, I did a race before the London event and found myself hooked.”

Since then, Mrs Black has married her passion for running with raising money for charity – her journey has seen her compete in the Austria Ironman for Coram and the London Triathlon for Norwood, while she has also run in the Athens Marathon for Chai Cancer Care and in this year’s London Marathon for World Jewish Relief.

Meanwhile, Sara’s husband Roger, an architect, has ridden the six-day race from London to Cannes on several occasions – and the event is gearing up for its ninth instalment next year.

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Mrs Black has always been extremely driven to push the frontiers of possibility when it comes to fitness, and she is looking forward to partaking in the 1,000-mile bike ride alongside her husband for the first time.

“I love challenges, and I’ve always wanted to do it – so next year we are going to be a ‘husband and wife’ team,” she said. “I’m a bit of a fitness nut. I’m very competitive, very sporty and I just love racing.

“I was a corporate lawyer up until May this year, by which point I hadn’t had the time to lend myself to charitable causes.

“I now have the opportunity to do something I’m extremely passionate about while raising money for good causes along the way.”

Now a personal trainer, Mrs Black has her sights set on future marathons that both she and her husband can compete in.

“Next year, I plan to do the Berlin Marathon, and then in 2015, I would like to do Chicago and Boston,” she said. “My husband and I like to travel, and so I have to fit the races in with our plans for the year.”

There are further plans afoot, and Mrs Black will be launching a running club in January alongside her business partner, Daniel Talbot. The fitness guru is keen to point out that the club is more than just pounding tarmac.

“During the 16-week programme, we’ll not only have running sessions, but we’ll also hold various talks on injury prevention, nutrition, post-race recovery and what to expect during the marathon,” she said.

“The idea behind the club is that Dan and I would like to help people who are planning to run the London Marathon for charity. People are under immense pressure to raise funds as well as doing their training.”

In addition to this Charity Marathon Programme in Primrose Hill, Hampstead Heath and Kenwood, the club is also designed to encourage people of all abilities to run, and will organise separate training for those who would like to cover shorter distances.

“There are a lot of people who like to run, but would like to improve in order compete in 5km and 10km races. This is what we aim to provide,” said Mrs Black, who has a motivational message for mothers who have struggled to keep fit since giving birth.

“Just because you’ve had a child doesn’t mean you can’t do it. I frequently go running around Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park with my baby in a push-chair!” she said.

“There are a lot of people who’d like to do a bit more, and I’d like to help them achieve their goals.”

For more information on the new running club, visit the website www.runinthecapital.com, and those interested in making contact can email onyourmarks@runinthecapital.com.

You can sponsor Sara and Roger’s ‘Cycle to Cannes’ mission at http://www.justgiving.com/saraandrogercyclcletomipim