Lollipop lady set to give it big licks

Runner Mary Towns in training for the London Marathon.

Runner Mary Towns in training for the London Marathon.

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Warddykes Primary lollipop lady and Arbroath Footer Mary Towns is all set to take part in the London Marathon on Sunday (April 24).

Inspired by “a friend and a few folk I know” with multiple sclerosis, who asked if she could “help out”, Mary is running the London Marathon for MS Therapy Centre Tayside, which is self-funded and used by the people of Tayside and Angus.

Modestly, Mary told the Herald: “This does not really set me apart from any other charity runner, apart from the fact I have created a virtual run challenge for the month of May. This is where you sign up online to do 100 miles of walking or running in the month of May.

“It can be a singular goal or a team effort, entries cost £10 and each entry gets a bespoke medal and to be part of the online community created.”

Out of her own pocket, Mary has paid for each class at Warddykes school to take part, to try an encourage the pupils to get involved in running, and the teachers and kids are all on board.

Mary said: “We hope to turn this into the run a mile daily for the kids, to improve their concentration and get those endorphins going, as well as helping with behavioural issues.”

Mary is the third generation of her family to help at school crossings (both her grandad and her mother wielded the lollipop at Ladyloan School) and she continued: “As well as being an Arbroath Footer, and the leader of our free ‘couch to 5k’ group, which has helped more than 100 people to take up the sport, I’m also the lollipop lady at Warddykes, making me an unusual character to be in this sport.

“At 44, I’m old for a runner, young for a lollipop lady! My race number for London is 42946, and if any of the kids are wanting to try spot me, I will have a helium SpongeBob balloon tied to the back of my water belt to make me stand out in the crowd!”

To sign up, visit the “MS Therapy Tayside May 100 Mile Virtual Run” Facebook page and follow the links.