Petpals’ Tracey to run the London Marathon for the Dogs Trust

5th April 2023

With less than 3 weeks to go, Petpals’ Tracey is champing at the bit ahead of running the TCS London Marathon! Petpals are proudly supporting Tracey’s marathon journey, as she prepares to run the painstaking 26.2 miles on 23rd April 2023 to raise money for the Dogs Trust.

We caught up with Tracey to answer our questions on what it’s like preparing for a marathon. From the gruelling training schedule, to the motivation behind it and dealing with the challenges, both physically and mentally.

Q & A’s:

What is your role at Petpals and how long have you worked for them?

My role is Franchise Support Manager and I’ve worked for Petpals for 17 years.

What I love about my role is the people in our network, having worked for Petpals for over 17 years, I have built incredibly strong connections with our network of franchisees who know they can call me for any queries no matter how big or small.  It is also a pre-requisite that everyone at Petpals loves animals and therefore you have that instant connection with people who share a mutual passion for pets!

Tracey with her Cockapoo – Noodles.

How much have you raised so far and what is your target?
I’m currently at 67% of my £1900 target and very much hope that I’ll be able to reach my target over the coming weeks. Petpals have been amazing in my fundraising efforts, the franchisees have all supported me and sponsored very generously and Petpals Head Office funded me to a whopping 50% of target.

Share your story as to why you chose to fundraise for the Dogs Trust and what this cause means to you.

Being an animal lover and dog owner myself, I chose to fundraise for the Dogs Trust because they provide life changing care and forever homes to dogs in crisis.  The Dogs Trust protect all dogs in the UK from maltreatment, cruelty and suffering. They focus on the rehabilitation and rehoming of dogs which have been either abandoned or given up by their owners through rehoming services.  I feel privileged to raise money for such an amazing charity.

When did you first start running?
I started running about 20 years ago with my dear friend Sue.  We were getting to ‘that’ age where we could no longer eat and drink what we liked without piling on the pounds so in order to keep eating and mostly drinking what we liked we decided to throw on a pair of trainers (had to dust them off first) and jog around the block a few times.  Oh how naïve we were!! Having puffed on for 5 or so minutes, we soon realised there was a bit more to this running malarky than we thought!  However, we stuck at it and soon entered our first organised race, the first of many.  Sadly Sue has now passed away but I continue to run and will always remember our first hilarious venture into running, with the promise of a glass of fizz at the end of each run, so long as we finished the miles, there’s no better incentive than that!

Tracey with Sue at Race for Life.

What motivated you to run the London Marathon and what will this mean to you?
If you’re going to run a marathon it has to be the iconic London Marathon really.  It’s been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember and I have regularly entered the ballot for years, with no luck.  Then, a couple of years ago, Jane Jukes joined Petpals, took up running and landed herself a charity place, something I had always thought about but never took the plunge, worried that I may not be able to raise the funds.  However, taking inspiration from the amazing Jane, I applied and the rest as they say is history.

Tracey with Jane Jukes – Petpals Accounts Manager.

How have you been training both physically and mentally?
I had a good core base for running having done so for many years but training for a marathon really is on another level.  The hours and hours and hours of training you have to commit to is hard enough especially when you are juggling job and family but the mental aspect is just as hard, if not more so.  It’s a constant battle within yourself not to stop! Thank goodness for Audible, I couldn’t run without listening to the many inspiring and hilarious running books such as Paul Tonkinson and Vassos Alexander.  I’ve received many an odd look as I’ve been running along chuckling loudly to myself, anything to keep my mind occupied and not focussing on the pain!

Tracey with daughter Tabby.

Do you have a target or run time in mind that you would like to achieve?

I’m hoping to finish in 5hrs 30mins but after my last long, gruelling, soul destroying (a tad melodramatic) 20 mile run, realistically I think (I hope) I’ll come in just under 6 hours.

Just to be able to run it, enjoy it, finish it and raise money and awareness for the Dogs Trust is good enough, whatever the finish time.

What’s your dream post-marathon meal?

I’d like to say something posh with 3 courses but I’m just not that classy!!  My dream post-marathon meal would be an extra-large cheese and tomato, stuffed crust pizza with garlic and herb dip (the big pot) and a large glass of champagne (that’s the classy bit).

Petpals are proudly sponsoring Tracey’s London Marathon run and helped get her over the 50% mark in her fundraising. The current percentage raised stands at 67% and every single donation helps to raise much needed funds for the Dogs Trust.

To donate to Tracey’s fundraiser you can visit her Enthuse page here: Dogs Trust: Tracey Dawber (