After completing the London Marathon two years ago, Gill Scott signed up to run in the Manchester Marathon in memory of a much-loved family member. After the race was postponed, Gill decided not to let her training go to waste and signed up to take part in our Virtual Easter Run:
“Tom became part of our extended family in 1983. I remember when my sister-in-law, Christine, first introduced us to this friendly, kind American serviceman. He was this larger than life character who loved Christine and their two children, Laura and Joe, with every inch of his being, and we all loved him as much in return.
His passing was a great loss to us all and we wanted to do something to honour him, raise awareness of lung cancer and support others who are affected by the disease.
I spoke to his family and they asked if I could raise money for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation as it is the only charity dedicated to people affected by lung cancer. I was delighted to do so.
The charity helps so many people with lung cancer to live well with the disease – something Tom did throughout his illness. Christine had also been a great fan of Roy Castle in Record Breakers when she was a child.
I had run the London Marathon two years earlier and knew that this type of challenge would draw family and friends together, and the enormity of it would remind us of the challenges that Tom had to face through his illness. Manchester is my home city, so I was really looking forward to being out on familiar streets with thousands cheering and thousands running for worthy causes.
Due to the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, it is understandable that the Manchester Marathon had to be postponed. We were hugely disappointed as members of Tom’s family had planned to travel over from the USA to be there to honour Tom’s memory, and family based here in the UK – many living in Manchester – were going to turn out on the streets, cheer and raise a glass for Tom after the event.
Turning a negative into a positive
I was given the opportunity to run the marathon later in the year or defer my place until 2021 – I’m 64 so training for a marathon takes quite a lot out of me, and I wasn’t sure if I could build up that level of fitness again. So, I decided to take part in a virtual run for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation instead.
I wanted to tell those people who had sponsored me that I had run after all – within government guidelines! I had raised over £1000 and wanted those people who had donated to know that my efforts would lead to an authentic outcome and for the charity to benefit from this donation in these very worrying times for them.
As a warmup for the Manchester Marathon, I was going to complete the Wilmslow half-marathon, so instead I did this virtually!
It was the first time I’ve taken part in a virtual run and I really enjoyed the process. You can do it in a relaxed manner, starting when you like. You’ll probably run slower (well I did!) because there is no crowd or razzmatazz to spur you on – but it still feels special and very rewarding. I’m now really looking forward to completing my Virtual Easter Run for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
If you are running a virtual run instead of your chosen organised race, treat it like the real thing – wear the t-shirt you were going to run in and prepare as if it is a big event.
If you can, maybe plan your route so you run past the houses of friends and family members so they can be your support team and cheer you on from the safety of their own home.
If you hit a running wall, think of the person you are running for and imagine all the people out cheering you, including all of those that you will be helping by fundraising for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation.
It may not be the same experience as an official run but, believe me, it means just as much, if not more to the people we are supporting.”