EastEnders stars Emma Barton and Jamie Borthwick have spoken about running this year's London Marathon in character as Honey Mitchell and Jay Brown respectively.


The pair will be taking part in and outside of the BBC soap, with Honey and Jay running in tribute to Jay's late wife Lola Pearce-Brown (Danielle Harold), who died last year of a brain tumour.

The actors themselves will be running for charity: Barton for Children in Need and Borthwick for Prostate Cancer UK.

Speaking to RadioTimes.com and other press about the training process, Barton explained: "I’ve worked a lot harder than I did the first time round. It was quite short-notice about five years ago, when I ran it for Barbara’s Revolutionaries [in support of Dame Barbara Windsor].

"I wasn’t very strong, I’ve never really run before, so I had issues with things like Runner’s Knee, so that sort of hindered me a little bit, and, funnily enough, Jamie.

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"So we both sort of hobbled through it. So this time round, I’ve made sure I’ve done as much as I possibly can, all the strength training, and sticking very strictly to a programme. So fingers crossed, we’ll be okay!"

On how it feels to be taking on this challenge, she added: “It’s pretty exciting, really, because it’s never been done before. It’s a massive thing, isn’t it, the marathon? We’re a London-based show and we’re doing something that’s never been achieved before. So it is very exciting, it’s very nerve-wracking."

Borthwick revealed he is equally thrilled to do the marathon for a second time, although it's been a very painful process!

"It feels great. It feels painful on my knees and my legs, but it feels really good. I'm actually quite honoured to be asked, really.

"I'm pleased we chose Lola's storyline to be involved in [the London Marathon]. It's tough on the old knees, but the on the whole [it's going] alright!"

Peter Beale holds up a t-shirt with a photo of Lola her name over the top in EastEnders
Lola's legacy lives on. BBC

What's Borthwick's training regime? "Not as strategic as Emma Barton's, I'll say that!" he told RadioTimes.com and other media. "She's going to be zooming off way in front of me!

"But I just try to get a lot in when I can. I'm very naturally kind of fit anyway; it's not unfitness that's going to kill me, it's the injuries!"

Of course, Lola will be in Jay and Honey's thoughts as they honour her wishes in scenes due to air next week - with Barton and Borthwick due to be filmed during the real-life event.

Reflecting on Lola's devastating story last year, Barton touched on the significance this marathon holds for Lola's legacy.

"I think it's really important, isn't it? It's sort of keeping her alive. A lot of people, when they're going through [this with] family members, loved ones with illnesses or they've lost [someone], people do want to show their appreciation to the carers that have looked after them, the charities that have supported people.

"I think it's really clever how Chris Clenshaw's come up with this idea. I just think it's lovely, and it's really important to the show to keep her alive.

"It had such a massive impact, and we were blown away by the response. It's a real honour to be asked to do this storyline."

Danielle Harold as Lola Pearce-Brown in EastEnders wearing a pink hoodie and cream jacket
Danielle Harold as Lola Pearce-Brown on EastEnders. BBC/Jack Barnes/Kieron McCarron

Asked what made people resonate so deeply with Lola's journey, Borthwick's thoughts echoed the viewers'. "I'm still getting asked about it, people still talk about it a lot, which is a great thing. It shows the impact that that story had. I had to watch a little synopsis of it from beginning to end the other day.

"Forget that I'm in it, take away that I'm in it because I can look at it from a kind of punter point of view, because first and foremost I have always been an EastEnders fan, and I can do that. I just think it's so real, just honestly think it's so real.

"Sadly, I think most of us can all relate to having cancer in our families somewhere along the line - friends, family, whatever it may be - so I think that also hit home.

"But just the absolute reality of it, I think it was so real, that's the only way I can describe it. I think that's the reason why we're still talking about it."

He's also full of praise for co-star Harold, who won much acclaim for her performances throughout the storyline. "And also the fact that it's Lola, huge character, [and] loved actress Danielle.

"It's almost like that backhanded compliment thing, because you can't do that with characters that people don't care about - you have to have made your mark to get a storyline like that, and obviously she did that in droves."

For information, help and support on matters associated with this storyline, head to Macmillan Cancer Support or Brain Tumour Research.

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