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Bereaved sister running marathon for Brent Centre for Young People

PUBLISHED: 10:01 08 September 2020 | UPDATED: 10:01 08 September 2020

Anna Zielonka is running a marathon for Brent Centre for Young People in memory of her brother

Anna Zielonka is running a marathon for Brent Centre for Young People in memory of her brother

Archant

A bereaved woman is to run a marathon in aid of a Brondesbury Park charity in memory of her brother.

Anna Zielonka will run a 26 mile course on October 4 with all proceeds going to the Brent Centre for Young People in Winchester Avenue.

The 37-year-old, who works for Santander bank, heard about the charity from a customer and was inspired when she looked online to investigate what it does.

Her beloved brother Rafal died six years ago at age 24, having struggled with mental health issues.

“I realised Brent Centre for Young People is not very well known compared to bigger charities,” Anna, who planned to run the London Marathon this year before the pandemic postponed the amateur event to 2021, said. “When I realised how they helped young people it brought it all home because of my brother, so I thought I’ll be thinking of him so I could do it in his memory.

“My brother struggled with mental health and he had addiction problems. Unfortunately there wasn’t support for him like they do at the Brent Centre.

“If he had found a place like that, he might be still alive.

“When I visited the facility and saw how they work with the community, the GPs, the school, if something like this was available when my brother was in need it could have saved his life.”

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Anna put posters up in Santander’s Brent Cross branch where she works and a customer told her that her daughter had been treated by charity staff and they were “brilliant”.

Anna, who lives in Arnos Grove, will run the race to Ricksmansworth and back to her local park.

“The actual (London Marathon) route is only available to elite runners,” she explained. “It’s scary. I run pretty much every day trying to increase my distance.

“I was training until lockdown and getting really into longer distances then when lockdown happened and they said it was cancelled, I lost motivation.”

Anna has a small team who will be following her on bicycles as there will be no water or food stations like in the central London race.

She hopes to raise £2,000 as Santander will match fund her total.

“It’s definitely going to be a different type of marathon to the usual one. It’ll be quite intense,” she added.

“I should be okay, I’ll finish it one way or another.”

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