Menu

Mar
31
2016

My Marathon Story
by

Last year, on a cold, grey, drizzly day I found myself with thousands of other people on the start line for the London Marathon. I was suffering with a horrid cold, the last thing I felt like doing was going for a run, never mind one which would take me on a 26.2 mile route from Blackheath to Buckingham Palace.  Yet, somehow despite not knowing anyone on the start line, I had never felt more part of a team.   We were all waiting for the race to begin, all shivering together, not knowing how we were going to cope with the challenge ahead of us.  Despite being huddled together, crammed in by the sheer volume of people taking part, it felt very calm.  As I looked around I couldn’t help but notice that everyone here was running for a reason.  It was written on their shirts but you could also see it on their faces.  Some were etched in concentration, others enjoying the moment about to start their glory lap in reward for all their months of training, some in silent contemplation.  Yet when we started moving forward it was as a team, like being on the rapids at a theme park, all pulling round together…

This year I will be on the start line again. This time I will be running for mental health research. I didn’t think I would run one marathon let alone two but my friend Sion was directly involved with the devastating consequences of mental illness last August.  His mother, Gwyneth suddenly died by suicide following an acute episode of severe depression.  I asked Sion if I could run the marathon this year in memory of Gwyneth and so began my search looking for a suitable charity.

When we saw that the McPin Foundation had a marathon entry it was the obvious choice. I liked how the McPin Foundation put people with mental health problems and their families at the heart of research to ensure it’s always focused on the issues that really matter to people.  I applied for the position to run for McPin and was successful. And luckily I am not alone in my efforts.  My friend Sion and my husband are also running to raise funds and together we hope we can make a difference. So far so good because to date we have raised £5,000. But we are hopeful of doing more.

Why? Because following Gwyneth’s death, along with Sion’s family, I was keen to do what I could to raise the profile of mental health research.

We hope that by running the London Marathon on April 24th we will raise significant funds and increase the profile of the importance of mental health research.  Not only this we hope future research will radically improve issues related to suicide, young people’s mental health and crisis care as well as primary care mental health.  It is so important that mental health receives the high profile it demands. I will be thinking of Gwyneth when I line up on the start line, and all the other people like her and their families who have lost so much. Wish us luck!

And if you would like to sponsor us then please visit our fundraising page at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HelenCasebourne

In 2017 we were able to announce that we are using the money raised in memory of Gwyneth to collaborate with the ESRC to support a new PhD studentship based at UCL researching the support people receive after being bereaved by suicide. 

If you would like to raise money to support life saving research please look at our fundraising page