London Marathon 2019

“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.”

Katherine Switzer

What an amazing day yesterday was. I have always loved the London Marathon, watching it on the tv from a young age and then on our doorstep when Andrew and I lived in London. Yesterday had to be my favourite marathon though, cheering on Rebecca, Emma and all the other incredible runners! The atmosphere and support for those running is so uplifting.

Rebecca, one of our runners, is my eldest sister and Lexi’s auntie. Words fail me to describe what a phenomenal support my sister has been since Lexi died. I will never forget phoning her the day Lexi had died. No words to describe the devastation and through tears she told me “We are here, whatever you need.” And from that moment she has been. She put aside her own grief and showed up time and again at my door. Driving me the day after Lexi died to the doctors, arranging for a special service with her vicar the night after Lexi died, stocking our fridge and freezer with food, doing my washing, and reminding me we when it all got too much that we would find a way. And she hasn’t stopped, she still always makes the effort to check how we are and gives us so much help and support.

Several years ago Rebecca joined a local group for joggers, a sort of couch to 5k. I think she would concur that prior to that running hadn’t really been Rebecca’s thing. She stuck with it and completed a 10k on one of the hottest days last year. It was after that she told me she had entered and got a ballot place for the Brighton Marathon to run in Lexi’s memory for GOSH. It was such a surprise and something she did all off her own back. The timing was perfect as earlier that week I was told we had been offered a place for Lexi’s fund for the London Marathon! As a once in a lifetime, bucket list tick what better marathon to chose to run than the London marathon! She entered and the charity place was confirmed!

Rebecca set about on such a dedicated training regime and has run over 300miles in her training! I would see her out running all over Sevenoaks no mater the weather. I was therefore completely devastated for her when just 10 days before race day she got a tear in her calf muscle. When I talked to her that day I could hear how upset she was after all her training it seemed she was going to have to pull out. But Rebecca is someone I’ve never seen give up at anything and so with a mass of strapping on her leg on Sunday she set off having had to do virtually no exercise in the past 10 days. She had lowered her expectation of times for the day and had one goal in mind, just to finish.

“When you run the marathon, you run against the distance, not against the other runners and not against the time.”

Haile Gebrselassie

She had barely slept the night prior to the race and I know was incredibly nervous, so when we saw her for the first time at mile 9, with a giant smile on her face, there was no better feeling! As the miles ticked on we were fortunate enough to see her at 4 more mile points. The pain was getting worse though and she had to stop at one point for physio. When we saw her at mile 23, I wished I could have hoped the railings and given her a piggy back. Seeing her in so much pain we were determined to see her one last time before the finish and at mile 25 we were able to surprise her and it was lovely to see her smiles had returned with the end in sight.

Seeing her finish the London Marathon, overcome all the pain and doubt she had has to be my favourite moment of this year of fundraising for GOSH. I literally couldn’t be prouder of her. So many points it would have been completely understandable for her to have pulled out prior to and even on the day when she was in pain.

Well done my amazing sister, I’m so incredibly proud of you and undoubtedly Lexi is too.

And we are also so incredibly proud of the amazing personal achievement for Emma, whose training has been thwarted with hip and back pain. I hope you are both proud of your achievement and can relax (once the aches have gone) knowing it is done now!

“…finishing a marathon isn’t just an athletic achievement. It’s a state of mind; a state that says anything is possible.”

John Hanc

Wednesday marks a year since The Lexi Mace Brighter Future Fund was founded. The aim of starting the fund was to find some happiness in the darkness. A way to help our family towards a brighter future, and a brighter future too for some of the sickest of children who pass through GOSH.

In the past year I have gained so many beautiful memories and moments of happiness through fundraising. And some how along the way we have together raised over £20,000. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped us in so many ways. Through spreading the word about our events, donating, sponsoring or arranging your own challenges.

Year 2 of The Lexi Mace Brighter Future Fund already looks jam packed. We have a team of 8 taking on 24 hour Three Peaks Challenge at the end of June, the same weekend we are looking forward to another great day at Run or Dye, then in July my incredible friend Jill is throwing herself out of a plane 🙈, Alex is running Maidstone Riverside 10k and we are putting a team together for RBC Race for kids! There are lots of other events in the pipeline and if you would like to, we would love to have you in any challenge you wish to undertake as part of The Lexi Mace Brighter Future Fund.

If Rebecca and Emma have inspired you to take on a marathon you have until 5pm on Friday (3rd May) to enter the ballot for 2020 London Marathon:

You can also enter for a charity place for GOSH here:

Do let us know if you are applying either for a ballot or charity place. We would love to be cheering you on next year!

Sophie x

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