I have been shortlisted for the Women’s Running Magazine Big Marathon Challenge team. I am pretty stunned to say the least. If I make the final three then I’ll be on my way to competing in the Manchester Marathon, receiving top notch training and full kit courtesy of Asics.
I’m in amazing company, the women are all pretty inspirational and each have their own reasons for wanting to run as part of the team.
So, what’s mine? I have tackled two marathons but feel I succumbed to the dreaded wall in each one. That little devil on my shoulder won each time and to finish the thing I had to switch to a walk/run strategy. Physically, I know each time I could have run the whole thing. But that little voice, that seed of doubt in my head took over. I know I can do it. I know I can finish a marathon, running the whole way… I also know there is no shame in using a run/ walk strategy, many runners do it and it’s still a huge achievement to complete a marathon that way. That being said, I have that voice in my head, telling me I’ve failed, that I’ve let down my biggest reason to run… my amazing daughter. She beat cancer at just 21 months and I want so very much to make her proud, to show that I have even an ounce of her strength. Every time I lace up my trainers I think of her and all she has been through and she encourages me to want to be a better me. I want to be a part of that team to get through the marathon in one piece, crossing that finish line, knowing I did the best I possibly could and raised a ton of money for Children with Cancer UK in the process.
Since my daughter’s recovery, we have made it our mission to fundraise for children’s cancer charities. We were so very lucky to have had such a positive outcome, for our daughter to now be a happy and healthy little girl. We know that other families are not so lucky. Today I thought back to the day we were told she had a tumour. It was the worst day of my life. I remember the very real fear that my Princess, my everything, could die. It was the most painful time. And for too many others that fear becomes a reality. It is the most tragic thing and it just isn’t fair. We’ve faced other obstacles since my daughter’s diagnosis- we spiralled into debt, (cancer can be a very expensive process to get through!) my husband experienced his lowest times and we were made homeless- we had indeed hit rock bottom. I truly believe that our brush with cancer lay to blame for our misfortune. Through that time we continued to fundraise, because however low we were, there were families facing a far worse battle. Fundraising for others and the training that came with all the running events we entered to raise money, also became the greatest therapy. There were times when we were staying in a homeless B&B that I really couldn’t see a way out, I felt that life would never get better, that we had truly failed the two beautiful souls we love most in the world… I can’t explain how much, in those times, pulling on my trainers and just running helped my mental state.
£6000 for Children with Cancer UK
I remember running at night, in the pouring rain, tears streaming down my face and realising I could overcome, that this time would pass and I was stronger than our situation. I trained for my first ever marathon whilst in that grotty B&B. Others asked why I was still running, fundraising for others when I had such a dire situation myself. I think I needed to, it drove me, pushed me to realise the strength I had and to pull myself out of the depths of despair- a little dramatic perhaps but I needed to remember that I had been through worse… that others were still going through worse. I am so proud to say that we have raised around £10,000 for children’s cancer charities. £6000 of that has been for Children with Cancer UK. My husband, the man I love who I nearly lost to depression, is going to run his first ever marathon for Children with Cancer UK as he takes on London. Between us we want to run 2018 miles in 2018. A big challenge for two people who wouldn’t run for a bus just three years ago. How things change!
I want to be on that team so much. I just know that with guidance, I can overcome my marathon doubts and demonstrate the strength that got me through those times. And more importantly, we can keep fundraising for a cause that is so very important and smash through our challenge in 2018.
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