Home   Bury St Edmunds   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Olivia Williams, of Bury St Edmunds, achieves London Classics medal after beating trio of fitness challenges





A woman from Suffolk has conquered three of the UK's toughest fitness challenges to earn a prestigious medal.

Olivia Williams, 30, of Bury St Edmunds, claimed the London Classics medal by completing the London Marathon, Swim Serpentine and Ride London 100 – all within a year.

Her medal is engraved with ‘Et ego Londinium vici’, meaning ‘I too have conquered London’, and she even ran an additional London Marathon to raise thousands of pounds for charity while taking on the challenges.

Olivia Williams, of Bury St Edmunds, with her London Classics Medal after completing the Ride London 100. Picture: Submitted
Olivia Williams, of Bury St Edmunds, with her London Classics Medal after completing the Ride London 100. Picture: Submitted
Her medal is engraved with 'Et ego Londinium vici' - meaning 'I too have conquered London'. Picture: Submitted
Her medal is engraved with 'Et ego Londinium vici' - meaning 'I too have conquered London'. Picture: Submitted

Olivia said achieving the medal has given her a new surge of confidence in her everyday life and she hopes her accomplishments will inspire others to try new sports.

“I’ve never been very sporty to be honest,” she said. “I think turning 30 this year was a big milestone for me and I just wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.

“It’s funny how doing something like this can boost your confidence so much. I’ll go into meetings now at work and originally I might have been a bit apprehensive, but now its like ‘well, I did all these challenges, so I know I can get through a meeting.’”

During her second London Marathon in April 2024. Picture: Submitted
During her second London Marathon in April 2024. Picture: Submitted

Olivia first got into running with her friends, starting with 5K Parkruns on Saturday mornings which eventually led her to tackle the Peterborough Half Marathon in October 2022.

After setting that bar for herself, she was inspired to sign up for the London Marathon which she ran with her dad, Timothy Russell, in April 2023. She raised £3,000 for Debra, a charity supporting individuals and families affected by the skin disorder Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB).

Olivia, who lived in London for two years, said: “After the marathon, a friend told me about the London Classics and it felt like the natural next step after completing the marathon."

She then began training for Swim Serpentine – a two mile swim in the Serpentine lake in Hyde Park – and despite not being a very confident swimmer, she completed the race in September 2023 with her husband Luke Williams, raising £300 for the eye charity Fight for Sight.

Olivia with her husband Luke Williams with their Swim Serpentine medals. Picture: Submitted
Olivia with her husband Luke Williams with their Swim Serpentine medals. Picture: Submitted

“I didn’t even know that my gym had a pool,” she said. “There is a different entrance to be fair, but still, I think that proves just how much of a swimmer I was.

“But everyone at my pool were so nice and friendly and I even managed to join a little swimming club, which I never would have done a year ago.

“The actual swim was okay, but honestly quite revolting - the lake was full of algae - but it felt amazing once I beat it.”

Thirty people also attended a walk at Culford and Olivia has raised more than £3,000 for the British Heart Foundation so far. Picture: Submitted
Thirty people also attended a walk at Culford and Olivia has raised more than £3,000 for the British Heart Foundation so far. Picture: Submitted

She then ran her second London Marathon in April 2024 with her friend Ben Hopkins and was able to raise £3,250 for the British Heart Foundation.

This charity holds special significance for Olivia as both her father-in-law and a colleague died due to heart-related issues. It is still possible to donate to Olivia’s cause by clicking here.

To top off the trio of challenges and claim the London Classics medal, Olivia then took on Ride London 100 on Sunday, May 26 – an 100-mile cycle ride from Victoria Embankment to finish on Tower Bridge with a route taking riders into north-east London and Essex.

Thirty people attended the walk and Olivia has raised more than £3,000 for the British Heart Foundation so far. Picture: Submitted
Thirty people attended the walk and Olivia has raised more than £3,000 for the British Heart Foundation so far. Picture: Submitted
Olivia with her friend Nick Pietruszweski after the Ride London 100 race in May. Picture: Submitted
Olivia with her friend Nick Pietruszweski after the Ride London 100 race in May. Picture: Submitted

She took on the challenge with her friend Nick Pietruszweski, finishing the cycle ride in around seven and a half hours and donating £200 to the Poppy Appeal – bringing Olivia’s total funds raised for charity to more than £6,000.

Olivia added: “I think it’s just really important to give something a go, even if it seems a bit daunting at first.

“The training almost makes the actual event feel like a victory lap because you’ve already done the hard parts.

“Getting involved in sports can really boost your inner confidence and I’d recommend for anyone to push themselves and see what they can do – you might be surprised at what you can achieve, I know I was.”