January 19, 2017

UK Running

Prior to moving to England, I submitted my name in the lottery for the London Marathon as an overseas entry. There are three ways to get in to London - have a qualifying time (good for age) which is only for UK residents, run for a charity, or get lucky and get a slot in the lottery (overseas and resident based). I did not luck out this way, so when we moved here I started looking in to charities. The problem is that by the time I learned I didn't get a spot in the lottery, a lot of the charities had already filled up. I contacted SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity), but their team was full so I reached out to Tommy's (another charity specific to stillbirth and pregnancy loss). I was put on a waitlist with Tommy's and in the meantime explored other options. I also went ahead and submitted my name for the British Legion waitlist (figured supporting allied Veterans was a worthy cause), but had a really hard time finding any charities that I not only felt a personal connection to, but that still had openings. Of course all the charities are screened and worthy of support, but I didn't want to sign up with one that didn't have much personal meaning - I just wouldn't have felt right essentially using one as a means to run the race, much less having to solicit friends and family for money for something I wasn't passionate about.

This week when I reached out to Tommy's to see if they by chance had any openings, I was thrilled when they let me know they did in fact have some drop outs and could offer me a spot! So I am officially registered to run the London Marathon on April 23rd!! I'm so excited it's all worked out and of course excited about the opportunity to run this race, but I'm also genuinely happy I get to help Tommy's fundraise. Their mission, literally, is to save babies' lives by funding research into the causes of pregnancy problems that lead to stillbirth, pregnancy loss, and premature birth. They also provide support for families who have experienced the loss of a child and have clinics specific to pregnancy after loss - I even have a friend who saw a doctor at one of them while expecting her rainbow baby and had wonderful things to say about her care.

Should you be able, I would be beyond grateful for your donation to Tommy's. My fundraising page can be viewed here. I know I ask for donations a lot - and it's gotten to a point where I feel a little uncomfortable and guilty for soliciting yet again, but if organizations like Tommy's are better able to study, and hopefully help prevent, stillbirth because of these fundraisers then it's worth it for me to ask for donations. Running is special to me in part because of the reason and motivation behind a particular race and this one will be especially meaningful because of how Cale's life has weaved together this opportunity to do some good. Thank you so much for understanding that and helping honor him.

Since "Keep Calm and Carry On" is of British origins, I figured this top was fitting to wear for my fundraising page photo. Miles only slightly rolled his eyes when I asked him to take the picture.

. . . . . . . . . .

Just a couple weeks ago I had all but given up on running the London Marathon so signed up for another race here in England, the Manchester Marathon that takes place April 2nd, three weeks before London. I'm still going to run it, but I also have one scheduled in late May in Edinburgh, Scotland and get to run the Berlin Marathon in late September. I've also entered Miles and I in a lottery for the Great North Run which is the largest half marathon in the world (nearly 60,000 runners!) so needless to say, I'm hoping to stay healthy and injury free!

Running has been a good way for me to explore Oxford I think I was able to figure my way around town a lot quicker thanks to it. I've found some great paths and parks and recently joined a weekly social run group. Last fall I was able to take place in the Oxford Half, the Abingdon Marathon (about 15 minutes south of Oxford, but still in Oxfordshire), as well as the Milton Keynes winter half marathon (also in Oxfordshire).

The races have been mostly enjoyable, or maybe I should say the have been rewarding, there definitely were times during and after that were less than enjoyable, but honestly it's the every day runs that have been the most special - getting to soak in my new surrounds and explore new cities in a way that is refreshing and challenging and therapeutic for me is really hard to beat.

Ok, enough run talk. Thank you again for the support - I know it will help fuel me (especially on these cold winter days) as I train and prepare for April!