Maddie 'Mad Dog' Hinch became a national hero last summer as her goalkeeping exploits helped lead Team GB's women's hockey team to gold at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Her mum Catherine, who cheered her on out in Brazil with Maddie's dad Neil and brother Lewis, will be picking up a medal of her own this Sunday (23 April) afternoon as she runs the Virgin Money London Marathon for SportsAid!
Catherine, who confesses to not being particularly sporty herself, turns 60 tomorrow and wanted to run the London Marathon as a special challenge having been inspired by Maddie's outstanding performances for Team GB. She will have 'MAD DOG'S MUM!' emblazoned across her Team SportsAid vest as she looks to raise money to help up-and-coming athletes.
Maddie received support from the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) back in 2011. TASS, which is managed by SportsAid for Sport England, provides support to young talented athletes balancing their education with their sporting ambitions. Here, Catherine talks about the importance of sport and her reasons to run for SportsAid as she looks ahead to Sunday....
What inspired you to take on the challenge? Why the London Marathon?
"I decided to run the London Marathon having being utterly inspired by my daughter's individual performance to secure gold in Rio. I also wanted to do something remarkable in my 60th year! I am not sporty at all, but the first to acknowledge how important it should be in everyone's life."
Why have you chosen to fundraise for SportsAid?
"I want to help young children in the UK who cannot follow their dreams to succeed in their chosen sport because of lack of support or funding. Sport is fantastic for kids to get involved in. Good for their health. Good to become disciplined. Good for character building, maturity, respect, team work and more. It really is a win-win situation for all kids - it's just a case of giving it a go."
Your daughter Maddie enjoyed incredible success with the women's hockey team at the Rio Olympics.How did you find your time out in Brazil?
"The whole experience was surreal - truly magical. I felt the team were brilliant and Maddie's individual performance magnificent. Magnificent, magnanimous Maddie!"
As Maddie was growing up, how challenging was it for you as parents to ensure she could commit to training and competitions?
"It was clear from a very young age that Maddie was always going to do something sporty in life....she gets it from her dad, not me! Once we saw her love and commitment to her chosen sport, how could we not support her? Once she could drive herself, life was a little less busy. Because her dad is sport mad too, we were always going to be the cheering parents on the sideline on a Saturday!"
Will you have family and friends supporting you at the London Marathon?
"My husband will be there on the day as will my son Lewis, but Maddie is still committed to her club in Holland until the end of May. She'll be cheering me on from afar!"
You can help Catherine to support the future of British sport by making a donation on her London Marathon fundraising page here.