Heidi’s Virgin Money London Marathon story
“Make sure you enjoy the journey”
Tens of thousands of people, each with their own story, take up the challenge of running the Virgin Money London Marathon each year. Heidi Rayward was among those who took part in 2017. Here, she shares her journey.
My Virgin Money London Marathon journey
“The best part of the marathon journey for me was the people I met along the way: while training, while out fundraising and even on the day. There’s a magic about the marathon that brings strangers together. I am still in touch with people I met on the train in, while running the course and even a marshall I met at the end.
The hardest part was running on the days it was cold, wet and when my mind didn’t want to run. But as soon as I had done it, and was back home in a hot shower, the pride I felt was incredible.”
Running for Tommy’s
“I ran for Tommy’s, which funds research into saving babies’ lives, in memory of my son James who was stillborn. Doing so really helped me to focus. Talking to people about my cause and my journey to the marathon made it more real. I felt more accountable; it wasn’t just me I was running for but for James, all the other angel babies I heard of on my fundraising journey and, of course, for my charity Tommy’s.
I knew I was making a bigger difference than just running. I was helping Tommy’s save babies’ lives and, on the day of the marathon when the blisters kicked in and the pain was immense, it was that thought that kept me putting one foot in front of the other.”
Support along the way
“I received a lot of support from Tommy’s both in the lead-up to the marathon, with fundraising tips and items to help promoting my fundraising events, and on the day itself with their incredible cheer squads who gave out hugs and cheered us on through the miles.
Trust me, those cheerleaders were a godsend and I am incredibly thankful for their support.
I would say to anyone who is taking part in the marathon that they should enjoy the journey. Not every training session will be a good one but it will help you both mentally and physically on the day. The feeling you get crossing the finish line will make every cold, wet run worth it!”
Tommy's funds research into miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth, and provides pregnancy health information to parents. They believe it is unacceptable that one in four women lose a baby during pregnancy and birth and want every parent to have the best possible pregnancy outcomes and to take home happy, healthy babies.
They fund four research centres in the UK that investigate causes and find treatments for miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth. These centres also have clinics which provide specialised antenatal care for women who are at high risk of having miscarriage, stillbirth and premature birth.
Tommy’s are supported by people who want to do something about the lack of research and information around pregnancy issues. By 2030 they want to halve the number of babies who die during pregnancy or birth.
Heidi is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Tommy’s again in 2019 – visit her Virgin Money Giving page to find out more or donate.