A LOCAL woman is to run the virtual London Marathon around Woking and Guildford while playing the recorder to raise money for the charity Music in Hospitals & Care.

Henrietta Stock, who is an energy engineer, has previously run the Surrey Half Marathon while playing the instrument.

The London Marathon was to have taken place in the capital on 26 April, but was then postponed until 4 October because of the coronavirus.

The race has now been reduced to a small elite event with no spectators, but the organisers have invited the 45,000 runners who were registered to cover the 26.2 miles on a course of their choice in what they are calling The 40th Race – Your Way.

Participants have been given the whole day to complete the distance.

Henrietta has chosen a route that will take her past Barnsbury Primary School, where she first learnt to play the recorder at school. She will also be joined for part of the route by friends from the Surrey Police Band.

She said: “It's been tough staying motivated over the summer after the original marathon was postponed.

“But one of my work colleagues messaged me to say that he had experienced the work of Music in Hospitals & Care first hand when his baby was born prematurely a few years ago and they came to do a Lullaby Hour session on the premature baby ward.

“This really helped me to get back out running. In London, playing the recorder whilst running might not have looked that strange alongside thousands of runners wearing all sorts of costumes. Around Guildford and Woking I’m not sure I'll blend in so well!”

Henrietta has so far raised more than £1,600 towards her target of £2,000.

Music in Hospitals & Care is aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of children and adults through live music. Every year, professional musicians from the charity share live music with more than 100,000 people from across the UK who wouldn't otherwise get to experience it. This includes those living with dementia, mental health problems, or who are seriously ill. 

Barbara Osborne, chief executive of the charity, whose South England office is in Walton-on-Thames, said: “We are so pleased that our London Marathon participants will still have the opportunity to run this year and we are incredibly grateful for the funds they have raised so that more people can experience the healing power of live music.”To sponsor Henrietta, visit uk.virginmoneygiving.com/henrietta. For information about the charity, visit www.mihc.org.uk