London Marathon: My #Reasontorun

11th Feb 2017

Shit! I’ve decided to run the London Marathon.

My reason to run came about a few years ago after my friend Mhairi was diagnosed with cancer.

Mhairi was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was living in Japan. I was living in Norway at the time and being on the other side of the world left me feeling largely helpless and frustrated by the situation.

Me and Mhairi in Norway at summertime in 2015

I started running casually and found it really meditative – a way to clear my thoughts and bring my attention back to the present moment.

A year or so after her diagnosis I moved to England and I started running a bit more seriously, but not regularly. I have a clear memory of setting out alone for a run on a cold evening with the feeling of not knowing who to talk to about how I felt at the thought of losing my friend. I ran, and ran, and ran, and ran – until I let go of my fear and realised that Mhairi must to some extent feel the same about her life.

My running sessions built to the stage where I felt comfortable covering eight to ten miles at a go. The idea to run the London Marathon developed from my desire to do something for Mhairi. I didn’t want her to feel alone in her struggle with her cancer. Her positivity and courage were a constant motivation and I wanted her to know she was my reason for running.

I went to visit Mhairi and her wonderful wife Victoria in Japan around February time. This was to go and say goodbye and again my running sessions proved to be an excellent coping mechanism. A bit of fresh air, some endorphins, physical exertion and time to process things helps.

The only problem was that I didn’t place in any of the charity positions for 2016. By the time everyone was running the 2016 marathon Mhairi had already passed away, just before her birthday.

I had a renewed desire to run the 2017 London Marathon and I managed to get a place through a charity to run this year. And reader, the marathon is on her birthday, 23 April. Happy Birthday, Mhairi!

The charity is Phab Kids, which supports social activities and sports for children and adults of all ages and abilities. Their dedication to promoting and encouraging the coming together of disabled and non-disabled people to achieve an integrated and inclusive society is really inspirational.

Both Mhairi and I shared a love for education, children and experiencing life – so Phab Kids felt like a perfect combo. “I think Mhairi would much rather money went to kids than cancer. Just a feeling”, said Victoria when I ask about her thoughts on the matter.

I have also worked with children, and have a brother with disabilities – which deepens my aspiration to help raise the £1700 for the charity.

If you would like to help me reach my goal and donate to Phab Kids, please check out my Virgin Money Giving page here.

I know that Mhairi would think I am crazy, but I also know she would be proud. Now to get through the mammoth marathon training!