A Manor Park mum marking her 40th year by running 10km 40 times for a Forest Gate charity has the finish line in sight.

Newham Recorder: Manor Park mum and Woodgrange Infant School teacher Monica Secretan has one run left in her 250-mile challenge. Picture: Alex WalshawManor Park mum and Woodgrange Infant School teacher Monica Secretan has one run left in her 250-mile challenge. Picture: Alex Walshaw (Image: Archant)

Monica Secretan, who teaches at Woodgrange Infant School, has raised more than £4,300 for The Magpie Project so far, ahead of her final run - which she’s extended to 10 miles - on Saturday, July 25.

Monica had been aware of The Magpie Project for years and seen the impact its services had on families within her school.

She hoped to volunteer with the charity while on maternity leave last year and learnt more about its work through talking to staff.

However, having two young daughters aged 5 and 18 months and soon returning to a full-time job meant her spare time was limited, so she thought about what else she could do to help.

Monica said: “The Magpie Project’s amazing work directly helps the most vulnerable families in our community and raising funds for them has been an absolute privilege.”

The Magpie Project provides a fun and safe place as well as practical support and advice for mothers and children under five in temporary or insecure accommodation in Newham.

During lockdown, it has acted as a food bank to provide meals and essential supplies for families who weren’t immediately supported by the council.

Monica has been completing her fitness and fundraising challenge, which covers around 250 miles combined, through a combination of races and independent runs since August last year.

Her plan to run regular 10km races across London was disrupted in March by lockdown, so she instead started running around Newham - both alone and in groups.

Monica will run from Manor Park station to the charity’s site in Magpie Close, via Wanstead Park, to finish the challenge.

The Magpie Project founder and chief executive Jane Williams said: “We were absolutely blown away when Monica came to us with the idea.

“What a sensational undertaking, and what determination given all that 2020 has thrown at us.

“This money will make a massive difference to our mums - it could pay for the hot meals for the whole project for the whole year, or it could pay the bus fare for 1,300 individual visits to the project by mums seeking help, or it could keep 23 babies in nappies for a year.”

Visit justgiving.com/fundraising/runningmum40 to donate.