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I started running in lockdown for my mental health – four years on, I’m one of the fastest female marathon runners in the UK

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If you’ve been on social media this weekend, you’ve likely seen a friend, colleague or family member posting about the London Marathon. The 45th iteration of the race will see around 48,000 runners take to the streets of London this morning and raise record amounts of money for charity while ticking off an enormous life achievement.

For runner and now elite marathon runner Anya Culling, the London Marathon was just the beginning of what’s been a life-changing journey. While five years ago she was working full time and running for fun, she’s had one of the most spectacular career transformations I’ve ever seen, going from running London for charity in 4 hours and 34 minutes to a seriously impressive time of 2 hours 36 at the 2022 iteration. That’s not even her personal best, either – she managed to knock off two whole minutes at that year’s Copenhagen Marathon, qualifying her officially as an elite and setting her career trajectory on its course.

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