After choosing to fundraise for the Hospice by running the London Marathon, Nick Smith MP is demonstrating his commitment by writing regular updates regarding his training and preparations as he builds up to the big day. Here’s his first blog:

I’m writing this blog as I recover from my first ever Half Marathon at Thorpe Park. I’ve been doing tons of training the past few weeks in the build up to the April event, but I didn’t quite appreciate how different a race would be. Big crowds running around you, excitement and energy in the air and you can’t help get caught up in it and go a little faster than you’d like. My feet have already taken a pounding and they’re certainly feeling it right now!

Just a few months ago, I didn’t think I would be doing this sort of running three times a week. All temperatures and at all times, squeezing runs around the long hours that make up a week in the Houses of Parliament…there’s already been a ton of work in the build up to the longest run of my life.

I’m pretty sure my office staff still think I’m mad but just preparing for it has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. I’ll admit while I love sport – being able to watch Friday night rugby is a real treat of mine – I never really played it after my school days. So after just a year of Saturdays down Bryn Bach Parc doing the Park Run, saying this is a little bit of a jump in distance and commitment is an understatement.

A massive boost has been the support I’ve received from so many people after announcing I’ll be running. The community have been really generous already and so many people have been offering their support. The running club were already great to be a part of, but it is extra special when they’ve been passing on tips and advice and giving me every chance to succeed.

I’m also in an unusual position where my wife Jenny has been my training partner and marathon buddy. Because our lives are so busy it’s been a real boost to be able to spend extra time together working towards this and, because we’re both going through the aches and pains, we’ve found ourselves totally flaked out together on the sofa on a Sunday evening after our weekly extra long training run.

It is fantastic to be able to run for the Hospice. As an MP you’re lucky in that you can enter the marathon without needing a charity entry, but it would have been a waste not to support one of the best charities on our doorstep. They really have made a difference to so many people at the end of their lives, and the families who want the best for them.

The next serious bit of preparation will be the Merthyr Half Marathon. In the weeks ahead and on the big day, knowing I’m running for the Hospice will make those 26 miles a walk in the park. Well, maybe not that. But it’ll be worth it.