I should have been running the London Marathon today. Me and 40,000 other runners, taking on the 26.2 miles of one of the most famous road races in the world. Except, as we all know, Covid-19 means the event didn’t go ahead – and even if it had, an ongoing injury would probably have forced me to withdraw in any case. My head has been full of what-ifs this last week or so. What if we weren’t in the middle of a pandemic and it had gone ahead, but I had been at home watching it on TV? What if Covid hadn’t meant my MRI was cancelled and I knew what the issue was and had been able to run after all? How would I have done in my very first marathon? Will it go ahead in October? Will I be there?
I guess it’s human nature to wonder… but all the questions weren’t helping my state of mind. So, as a family, we decided to channel those frustrations and emotions into something positive, and to mark the London Marathon weekend with our own ‘family marathon’ in support of both Tommy’s, the baby loss charity I was supposed to be running London for (read more about that here), and the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity here in Cardiff, who we’re currently fundraising for with their step challenge, for which we are walking the length of Wales… 187 miles or 421,000 steps between us (read more about that here).
It’s a tough time for charities. London Marathon alone is the world’s biggest one-day fundraising event, which last year raised more than £66.4 million for thousands of charities. And it’s estimated that charities will lose around £4bn in 12 weeks in lost donations due to Covid, with events cancelled, charity shops closed and donations are down as people feel the financial strain.
We wanted to use this weekend to do something to help, hence the family marathon.
With my children aged 10, 8 and 6, we initially decided to do our family marathon over two days, 13.1 miles between us per day, a distance of 2.62 miles each. Armed with a backpack full of drinks, snacks and sweets, we set off yesterday morning to walk what we thought would be half a marathon around Roath Lake. We’d set them the challenge of photographing as many spring flowers as we could as well as spotting as many different animals as they could too, and it very quickly became clear that the kids were on fire and having a great time…. And so we decided to extend our walk a little longer, and to do the full family marathon in one go. We walked 5.3 miles each, from our home and back, maintaining social distance at all times. This was a total of 54,500 steps towards our Noah’s Ark total.
The kids were so chuffed to have completed it in one go but it meant that this morning, the actual marathon day, felt a little flat. And so we decided to do a family marathon again! Another 26.2 miles between us, this time to Llanishen Reservoir and back. Again, spotting all kinds of wildlife on the way, plus a few incentives in the form of sweet treats, helped the children to forget how far they were walking and to enjoy exploring. We’ve added another 53,000 steps to our tally.
We’d set out to raise £75 for the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity, but thanks to the amazing generosity of friends and family, we have now double that! All the money raised from this challenge will make such a difference to the children and families supported by the hospital.
We’ll also be donating to Tommy’s as part of the 26.2 Challenge taking place this weekend. Miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth are tough enough at the best of times, but the current restrictions mean women are facing going through difficult medical procedures alone at home, appointments are delayed, and they can’t see their loved ones for support. Tommy’s is supporting them in extra ways, and the funding is vital for this.
We still have a long way to go with our Noah’s Ark Step Challenge – 187 miles/421,000 steps is a long way to go… even between five of you! We’ll keep you posted on our progress.
I know lots of you have been taking on charity challenges this weekend for the 26.2 appeal. Do let me know what you’ve been up to in the comments below, on the Cardiff Mummy Says Facebook page, tweet me on @cardiffmummy or tag me on Instagram @cardiffmmummysays
More information about the 2.6 Challenge here.
You can sponsor our Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital Charity Step Challenge here.
I’m also still fundraising for London Marathon for Tommy’s here.