Elliot's Mum's thoughts on the eve of running the Leeds Marathon
Sometimes we talk about the ‘perfect storm’. I’m sure many of us don’t have to look to far from either our own situations or what is happening around us – to see how a culmination of things can/have come together to create what can feel like an enormous mountain to climb. Sometimes things out of our control keep adding to this mountain. Interest rate rises to add to the financial pressure, worries about our kids, illness, people coming into, or even out of our lives….whatever it is, when things come together it can feel hard to see any ray of sunshine sometimes.
Whenever I start to write, I have an idea about what I want to say and see where the words go – so bear with me – this is going somewhere..
Charities. I would say it is the norm that charities are set up out of tragedy. Something so devastating happens, you look around and find what you needed or what your friend, colleague or even what your community needed – just wasn’t there. So, you decide to make sure it is there to either prevent or support – or both. There are many times I find myself in an Elliot’s Footprint meeting, maybe talking about strategy, fundraising, or talking with external partners or sponsors to help us on our journey – yet for all the world I wish I wasn’t there, in that moment – no matter how positive the experience is. I would rather have stayed blissfully unaware of sudden child death and the devastation it brings. If Elliot’s Footprint had never had the need to come into existence – then our little boy would be turning 13 in a few weeks time and I would probably be facing the angst of his teenage years.
But we are in existence and I will always be eternally grateful for everyone who has helped us get where we are. This includes the awesome Run For All who are hosting the Rob Burrow’s Leeds Marathon on the 14th May – as it write this – tomorrow. I will be one of the 1200 runners (well might be stretching the definition a bit) - seeking to get round a somewhat hilly and challenging route. I broke my ankle in 3 places a few years back – so decided to give it a test and see if will still take me the full distance. Training run experiences says mmm maybe not – in life you have to give things a shot though. Mind you I wouldn’t have got this far without Ben and Jamie, my chiropractor and physio. They have been amazing at putting me back together, whether it has been the ankle, bike fall or dodgy back. I owe them a huge gratitude for the knowledge, experience and amazing humour. Ben, Jamie, it’s your fault I’m running this!
In 2013 I was training for my first marathon. I had done a long training run, came back with sore legs. Elliot asked me what was wrong, I told him my legs were hurting, he came over and kissed my knee and asked if it was better. I told him it was with the biggest smile on my face and a hug in my heart. 24 hours later, Elliot died in his sleep, just 2 years and 9 month old. I didn’t run the marathon that year.
A few years later I did, running with an amazing and inspiring guy, Steve. I also remember the ‘Good Luck’ banner that Elliot’s sister put on the wall at home the night before the race. I also still laugh about how Elliot’s big brother decided he didn’t want to come and support on the day as I ‘would take too long and it would be boring’ (he had a point). So we arranged for him to spend the day with his friend. Imagine my shock and his – when I saw him at the finishing line. His friend and family had decided to come along and support (which was incredibly kind) – so Oli got dragged along anyway. Yes he was very bored, also saw the funny side though.
What stayed with me at the time was the incredible atmosphere, great support and how much of an impact that the event would make for the thousands of charities being supported by the runners.
The impact that the events organised by Run for All is incredible, much of it will be unseen. In the perilous financial climate it is hard for so many people to make ends meet, incredible challenge for charities to secure the funds for the priceless work that is needed to support those in desperate need. So just as we can have a ‘perfect storm’ which makes us feel the mountain is getting higher – we can have the ‘perfect storm of hope’ when good things come together – and create a ripple effect that will change the lives of so many people.
So a huge thanks to everyone who has set up a charity out of your sadness or tragedy. You will have had huge positive impacts – many that you will never see. Thanks to Run For All and everyone involved with the work of Rob Burrow – this marathon will bring together so many people, create new personal bests, friendships, sore legs (and the rest) and raise millions for the priceless work that is so much needed. And – all the organisers and volunteers for the race – without you, nothing happens.
Good luck to everyone who is taking the race on tomorrow – including one of our amazing Trustees, Dan.
Read Dan’s story –
And if you need ‘putting back together after the race – check out Ben and Jamie, Chiropractic - Family Chiropractic & Physiotherapy Centre (family-chiropractors.co.uk)
Although Andrea has not set up a fundraising page for her epic challenge we always welcome kind donations through the link on this website.