Julie Laroche is a family support worker for Home-Start East Lothian. Over the last few years she has run 3 half-marathons to support their work, raising funds and awareness of their vital role supporting families. This year she is going the extra (five hundred) miles for children and families in her local community.

I was a volunteer for four years before being lucky enough to get a job doing something that I love, and so I know just how important Home-Start is for families who for a wide variety of reasons may be struggling with family life.

As a small charity we are always looking for ways to increase both awareness of the services we provide and also to fundraise as much as possible to carry out this important work. This year I decided I would like a new challenge which was more about the miles and less about the finishing times - so I came up with the 500 Mile Challenge!

My aim was to run 500 miles - both in training miles and through entering several organized races throughout the year - all of which counted towards my 500 mile target.

I started on the 1st of January and have had so much support from the East Lothian community that I have already run 410 miles! 500 miles is in sight, so I am upping my target and running 500 more for families in my community.

A thousand miles don’t run themselves and as part of this journey I was involved in the set-up of the Meadowmill Parkrun and now volunteer or run at it on a weekly basis - this is a fantastic free running event which encourages people of all ages and fitness levels to benefit from running.

I have also set up running groups in both Sandersons Wynd and Macmerry Primary Schools – where small groups of kids have agreed to run a mile with me over 5 week blocks to encourage them to get out and enjoy some exercise and help me reach my target. These groups have been great, with the first group “graduating” last week!

I am keeping a log of my mileage both via my blog which can be found at HSEL500.home.blog and also visually by adding a button to the jar for each mile I complete.

Buttons help to hold things together, just like parents, carers and volunteers help to hold families together so as I run 500 miles for Home-Start I felt this was a great way to show the miles building!

So if you see me out and about in my bright orange Home-Start t-shirt give me a wave and help me cover the miles for all the families and amazing volunteers that help make Home-Start East Lothian such an amazing charity!

I have a just giving page and any donations would be hugely appreciated!