When Dad was diagnosed with MND, I was 20 years old. I was about to leave home for University and, knowing that I wasn’t going to be around to help my family out, I felt utterly out of control, and scared.
When you lose control, you try anything to seize back a little bit of control. For me, that came in the form of thinking up fundraising challenges. It felt like fundraising was the only way that I could make a difference to the shitty deck of cards that we had been dealt with, and it wasn’t long before I grabbed a group of my friends and tackled the Three Peaks Challenge.
When Dad died, I was 24 years old, and as I turned 25 a friend bought me a place in the Sheffield half marathon. Every training run made me think of my Dad, and forced me to keep running even when it was tough. Almost exactly 12 months after his death I ran the Sheffield half marathon, with my Dad’s brother, and it was just as emotional as I expected it to be.
Having not run since that half marathon, I must have been experiencing a lack of memory as I entered Nick and I in to not only the Great North Run, but the Royal Parks half marathon too!
Last weekend Nick and I completed the Great North Run, and despite having done fundraising challenges before, this one felt different. I think it might have been because I have more involvement with the MNDA now – I felt a real pressure to fundraise successfully and do the run in as good a time as possible.
Newcastle’s half marathon was hard work – Nick and I fell out and made up several times during the 13.1 miles! – and even the thought of my Dad didn’t motivate me at times. I think there’s an unwritten rule that suggests love and heartbreak can give you the inner strength to do anything, but I certainly didn’t feel that way around the 10 mile mark on Sunday!
We spotted lots of people running for MND, but it wasn’t until the last mile that I spotted any cheerers – I then saw 2 men with a banner around the 12 mile mark – if by any chance you happen to be reading this, you have no idea how much seeing you guys spurred me on!
Just as we approached the finish line we spotted a lady running for MND, and the 3 of us crossed the finish line hand in hand. We made it to the MND tent in the charity village, and we felt like superheroes – thank you so much for all of your support.
Each event I attend to do with the MND Association makes me feel prouder and prouder to be a volunteer, both as a fundraiser and with the South London group. In less than 4 weeks Nick will do our second half marathon – The Royal Parks – and no doubt the MND family will see me through those 13.1 miles too.