A Tauranga doctor has just begun a gruelling 15-week training programme to compete in the London marathon to raise money for the sick.

Frances Stringfellow, known as Frankie to her friends, works as a doctor at Tauranga Hospital. The 24-year-old said she saw the impact the Bay of Plenty and Waikato Cancer Society had on people's lives each day.

"I've had a lot of patients with cancer and I've seen first-hand how much it can affect people and their families," she said.

"I wanted to use something I am passionate about to help out and do something small, which may help make the burden of cancer just that little bit easier for someone."

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I've had a lot of patients with cancer and I've seen first-hand how much it can affect people and their families.

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Dr Stringfellow was now in "full training mode" ahead of the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon on April 24. She runs every day and clocks up a minimum of 100km a week, "probably more in the 120km range".

"I'm hoping to improve on my time from Auckland. Training involves a mixture of speed sessions and long runs. The long runs are usually between 25km to 35km."

Dr Stringfellow usually runs a route from her home at Mount Maunganui, over the Tauranga Harbour Bridge and around the Daisy Hardwick estuary, or through Matapihi and over the railway bridge to Tauranga.

Frances Stringfellow is going to run the London marathon to raise money for the Cancer Society. Photo/George Novak
Frances Stringfellow is going to run the London marathon to raise money for the Cancer Society. Photo/George Novak

Dr Stringfellow said she had run on and off for a few years but in 2014 she had a major ankle fracture, requiring surgery.

"I started running again in January of 2015 and could only run for five minutes," she said.

"I gradually increased my time and mileage running.

"In August last year, I decided I wanted to have a little more structure to my training so I got on board with Craig Kirkwood, a well-known local runner, triathlete and coach. From then on, I was running at least six days a week and completed the Auckland marathon in three hours 11 minutes at the start of November."

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Dr Stringfellow was born in England and remembers watching the London marathon on television "even when I wasn't interested in running".

"It amazed me just how many people did the event and it looked like a fantastic experience. I never dreamed I'd be fit enough to run it myself though," she said.

"Now I'm in a position to be able to run it and I thought if I'm ever going to do it, the time has to be now."

Dr Stringfellow hopes to raise $7000 for the Cancer Society.

-To donate, go to londonmarathon2016.everydayhero.com/nz/frankie or email francesstringfellow@icloud.com for more information.

London Marathon - the statistics:

* A record total of 247,069 people entered the ballot for the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon. About 38,000 runners are expected to be on the start line on April 24.

* Organisers accept more than 50,000 runners, as they can predict, after 35 years, almost exactly what proportion of entrants will drop out because of illness, injury or other reasons before race day.