This May, Rachel will be taking on the challenge of a lifetime and running the Edinburgh Marathon. It's a huge feat, and we're very grateful she's doing it for our charity - so we decided to get to know her a bit better...
Please tell us a bit about yourself
I'm a proud Londoner by adoption - born and raised in Chicago. I've lived here most of my adult life, and have the strange mid-Atlantic accent to prove it! By day I'm a museum curator; in my spare time you'll likely find me making music, taking photos, going for a hike or a swim, baking up a storm... or planting trees.
Why do you want to run the Edinburgh Marathon?
Running a marathon before my 40th birthday has always been on my bucket list, and as the big birthday is a little over six months away, you could say I'm cutting things a bit fine! Edinburgh particularly appealed to me as it's one of my favourite cities in the UK, and I'd also heard that it's a good course for a first-timer like me - a nice combination of downhill and flat. I'd also always planned to use running a marathon as a way to support a charity, and with Trees for Cities having places at Edinburgh, the choice made itself!
Have you ever done anything like this before?
No! In fact, I only started running again a little under a year ago, after a gap of about twenty years - I'd not done any running to speak of since leaving school. As a keen hiker, I have plenty of experience with long and gruelling treks over rough terrain, so I'm hoping that will stand me in good stead.
If you'd like to take up a challenge for our city trees, head over to our events page - there're events nationwide that you can take part in. But hurry! Places are limited and are assigned on a first-come-first-serve basis.
Why have you chosen to run for Trees for Cities?
I'm passionate about the environment, and I've been volunteering with Trees for Cities for the last three planting seasons. Whether it's getting out and planting trees, or running a marathon, I want to do all I can to support their work - not least as it's the only charity of its kind in the UK!
How important is urban greening to you?
Very. Cities have a huge role to play in combating climate change. And on a more basic level, greening cities has such a massive impact on quality of life. I'm very lucky to live in a particularly green corner of London (Crystal Palace) but am well aware that not everyone is so fortunate - the more we can do to change that, the better.
What's your favourite tree?
A tough call, but I think it would have to be the sweet chestnut - both for the majesty of the old trees and for my love of chestnuts in all forms.
We're going to be following Rachel's journey to Edinburgh, so keep an eye out for her monthly updates!