LOVE for Life chief executive Judith Cairns is getting her skates on for a marathon with a difference.
The 38-year-old recently took up rollerblading as a pastime and has set herself the ultimate challenge using her new wheels.
She explained: “On September 29 I’ll be doing the Berlin Rollerblade Marathon.
“Doing a marathon is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve tried a bit of running, but I knew it wasn’t something I could do.
“I met a girl at my son’s Cub camp and she had been talking about skating and having done a rollerblade marathon in Berlin.
“I got a pair of skates last summer and taught myself. With rollerblades I thought a marathon was something that was possible again.”
Judith has worked in the charity sector for 14 years and started with the Waringstown-based charity last January.
She lives in Ballinderry with her husband Dessie and two children Matthew (10) and Beth (7).
She said: “Rollerblading is not something that there are many experts in. If you are getting into running or cycling there’s plenty of people to get advice from.
“Dessie and I went to London in May for lessons. I quickly found out that some of the things I’d been doing were wrong.
“It’s different from the skates I had when I was a child. They had four big wheels and a bit at the front to stop you. These ones have the wheels down the middle so it’s a lot more like ice skating. You use the back of them to stop. It’s a totally new technique for me to learn.
“I’ve still a lot to learn when it comes to braking. All the pads are set up for front falls but when you hit a bump or a pebble you can go any direction.”
Judith spoke of her technique for the marathon: “I’m aiming for 10 miles an hour.
“I would have loved to be able to set myself the goal of just completing it, but I have to be finished within a certain time. You need to complete it in two and a half hours otherwise the course is closed.
“The most I’ve done to date is 16 miles around the track at the Maze. The surfaces have to be smooth. I’m told the roads in Berlin are excellent.”
Judith will be doing the marathon in aid of Love for Life along with a friend of hers, Chris Briggs. Judith’s husband Dessie and Chris’ wife will be going out to support them along with another couple of friends.
Judith said: “It’s the first ever big endurance type thing I’ve done, so yes, I’m nervous.
“When you’re so busy at work you’re having to make time to train. I’ve been out at night and out during the rain. I’ve put so much into it so quitting isn’t an option.
“The Olympics have been inspirational and Love for Life is all the motivation I need.
“This year we’re celebrating our 10-year anniversary and the work we’re doing for young people deserves to be promoted.”
To mark the occasion, Love for Life are having a Birthday Ball in the Ramada on Saturday, October 20. Tickets are £30.
Before the gala celebrations Judith will hopefully be celebrating herself after completing the Berlin Rollerblade Marathon on September 29.
If anyone would like to support Judith they should go to www.charitygiving.co.uk/berlinskate and make a donation.