Holmes triumphed in the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, where she won gold in the 800m and the 1500m. She is Britain’s most successful female middle distance runner and still holds the British records for both 800m and 1500m. Other achievements during her great career include Olympic bronze in the 800m in the 2000 Games in Sydney, two silver medals at World Championships and two Commonwealth Games gold medals. She was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 2004 and was made a Dame when she retired from competition in 2005.
Holmes will be running to raise money for four charities:
- The Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, which supports athletes as they transition from sport and uses their skills and experience to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people through mentoring programmes
- Myeloma UK, as her mother is going through treatment for this plasma cell cancer
- The Pickering Trust, which provides emotional support for people who have been affected by cancer
- Hospice in the Weald, where her coach Dave Arnold passed away two years to the day after Holmes won the 1500m gold medal in Athens
On switching up to Marathon Distance Dame Kelly Holmes said:
26.2 miles is a very long way for a long-time retired, middle distance runner,
I will have to completely change my mindset to train for such a long distance but it’s a challenge that I am now up for, especially as for me it will all be about raising lots of money for charity. It’s the most amazing event, the atmosphere is incredible and now I can’t wait until Race Day.
If you’re out getting your training runs in you might bump into her, keep an eye on @damekellyholmes on twitter.
I've had amazing couple of days working out with enthusiastic people who look after themselves to feel happy Thank u pic.twitter.com/Y681vWJkYo
— Kelly Holmes (@damekellyholmes) January 23, 2016
Holmes joins an elite group of British Olympic track & field gold medallists who have gone on to run the London Marathon. These include:
Chris Brasher (1956 steeplechase gold)
Seb Coe (1980 and 1984 1500m gold)
Lynn Davies (1964 long jump gold)
Mo Farah (2012 5000m and 10000m gold)
Sally Gunnell (1992 400m hurdles gold)
David Hemery (1968 400m hurdles gold)
Mary Peters (1972 pentathlon gold)