#ReasonsToRun – Heather’s Story

9 January 2020

Every month we’ll be sharing the stories of participants who take on our challenges. We hope that by sharing their reasons for participating others will be encouraged to do the same.

This is Heather O’Connell’s (44, California) story.

Running has completely revolutionised and significantly improved the quality of my world and my life, but it definitely didn’t start out that way. I HATED running. A friend of mine tried to get me, for two years, to run with him. I suggested that, I’d go with him one time if he’d stop asking me. We agreed that I would join him two times and then he’d never bother me again. That was back in 2009 and I haven’t stopped since.

And now, I’m taking my passion around the world. New journeys and new adventures.


What initially connected me to Norwood is my cousin, Jeffrey Collier, who has cycled and travelled around the world with Norwood on 13 different Challenges.  When I began to talk about wanting to run the London Marathon, Jeffrey suggested that I should connect with Norwood and run the marathon as a charity fundraiser. When I researched Norwood it became clear that the mission, goals and services all completely align with my values. I immediately knew that purpose and fate all led me to Norwood.

I feel deeply connected to the mission of Norwood because of my personal experience. I grew up having learning disabilities but was never properly assessed or diagnosed.

I feel that Norwood’s spectrum of support and care is of utmost importance.

It fills my heart with gratitude and joy to run as a representative for Norwood in the 2020 London Marathon and to know that I, too, can help make a difference for others through fundraising for Norwood.

Contact us