Paula’s London Marathon effort is a knockout after high-five floors her – but she’s helped up by old friends she hasn’t seen in 10 years!

Paula Holm and her son Josh

Paula Holm and her son Josh - Credit: Archant

Mum of three Paula Holm from Baldock managed a new personal best at Sunday’s London Marathon – but ended up with more than she bargained for as she picked up a black eye, as well as being helped back to her feet by old friends she hadn’t seen in years.

Paula was pounding the streets to raise more than £3,700 for Great Ormond Street Hospital and HomeStart Herts – as a way of saying thank you after her son’s life was saved when he was 19 months old.

Son Jonah had been found drowned at the bottom of her garden pond by a friend, before being taken to GOSH where he remained in intensive care for three days. Thankfully he has since made a full recovery.

And Paula – who finished in an impressive 3:35:01, knocking nine minutes off her previous marathon best from 2015 – ended up in the wars herself after ending the 26.2-mile race with a black eye.

“I got a black eye after I was knocked to the ground by an over-zealous supporter lining the route who was trying to give me a big high five,” she said.


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“I was knocked to the floor at 23.8 miles and had to receive medical support.

“I normally wear glasses but I didn’t for the marathon and wasn’t wearing contact lenses either so it was a bit blurry, not to mention the fact I was a bit tired with only two miles to go.

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“The person didn’t mean it bless them, and it didn’t take much to knock me off my feet, but I’m now sporting a black eye!

“There was a big gasp from the crowd around me and people helped me and made sure I was OK. I was more concerned with just trying to see my family who I knew were literally half a mile further on.

“I was a bit emotional and started crying. I didn’t see who helped me I just kept saying ‘I need to carry on, I need to carry on.’

“I’m not sure what my husband and Jonah and my family thought when they saw me crying with a black eye half a mile later.”

But there was a further twist when she received a message on Facebook yesterday from a couple who had helped get her to her feet.

Paula said: “I got a message saying ‘I think we helped you yesterday, are you OK?’ It was really nice of them.

“But then it turns out it was Rob and Ruth Boulton – who were evening guests at my wedding 13 years ago!

“I hadn’t seen them in about 10 years, but completely randomly they were there to cheer on their daughter’s boyfriend.

“There must be hundreds of thousands of people who lined the streets of the London Marathon over the course so I can’t believe the coincidence that I get punched right in front of two old friends who were at my wedding who I haven’t seen in years. What are the odds?”

Luckily for estate agent Paula, 38, who works for Lane & Bennetts in Station Road, Letchworth, she was able to cover up her shiner with make up before she went back to work.

Her son Jonah took his mum’s medal into school yesterday, but now as an eight-year-old boy he was more concerned with telling his pals about his mum’s unfortunate accident.

Paula smiled: “I think Jonah was far more excited in telling his friends that his mum received a decent right hook and got a black eye than me actually running the marathon.

“He’s been so sweet though as he said to me: ‘Mummy even if someone punches you don’t give up running’.”

Paula is thinking of running the marathon again to mark her 40th birthday in 2019. She has plans to try and break the world record for running as a minion or a smurf, much to Jonah’s delight.

She joked: “If I run as a minion then at least I’ll have a bit of protection next time an overzealous supporter punches me.

“During Sunday’s run I had chocolate to keep me going. I was actually fuelled by a pocketful of chocolate smurfs, so they’re another option for fancy dress.”

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