Jon Heggie: Marathon men and women help to run hospice

Jon Heggie, Director Fundraising, St Columbas Hospice
Jon Heggie, Director Fundraising, St Columbas Hospice
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The Edinburgh Marathon Festival is almost here and people across the city will be getting their outfits ready, fuelling up and making their last-minute preparations, whether they are taking on the full marathon, the half marathon, 10k, 5k or the marathon relay. Taking part in these events is special for the runners, as well as the city and the spectators – being there as people take those first steps at the start of the event, along the route around our beautiful city, and finally across the finish line accompanied by the cheers of their loved ones.

People take part in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival because they want to take on a challenge, because they love running or because they want to do something amazing to support a cause close to their hearts – for some people it’s all three.

At St Columba’s Hospice we are always honoured when people choose to run for us. Whether someone is running their first 5k, their first full marathon or they are a seasoned marathon runner – every step and every penny raised is hard-earned and we are incredibly grateful for their support.

This year, 19 friends from Lochend Boxing Club have put themselves into teams to take part in the marathon relay. The friends chose to support us because many of them have loved ones who have been supported by the hospice. When the hospice cares for a person with a terminal illness, we also support that person’s friends and family too.

Dawn, who is taking part in the marathon relay with her friends from the boxing club, said: “I hadn’t realised how much St Columba’s Hospice does for people. I recently found out that it is great for sorting out pain medication. A close family friend has terminal cancer and he couldn’t get his medication right, was sick and in a lot of pain. He was admitted to the hospice for a few days and they took him off everything and then started it from scratch again – he was a changed man! I know he will not get better but to look at him, you would never know he is terminally ill.

“I am in awe of the counselling that is offered and understand that counselling can help people close to the patient, not only to understand the treatment better, but also what may happen in the future.

Part of the challenge with events like the marathon relay is fitting training runs into your everyday life, but doing it with friends can make that easier. Dawn said: “I am so chuffed to be running with my gym buddies to support the hospice. We all have different levels of abilities, from being able to do half marathons to being brand new to running. Everyone is up for it and looking forward to getting involved.

“It can sometimes be difficult to fit in the training for a race, so as well as going to Lochend Boxing Club’s fitness classes we are running before the fitness classes, before work, or squeezing it into our weekends. No one wants to let each other, or St Columba’s Hospice, down.”

One of Dawn’s gym buddies is Dianne, who will also be running in a team in the marathon relay. The team’s spirit has brought people together and will carry each person over the finish line. “Lochend Boxing Club is a small club with a team of huge hearts, everyone who attends the club is more than happy to get involved in events that involve great causes like supporting the hospice. St Columba’s Hospice is a great cause and it reaches so many hearts, everyone has a story to tell of a family member or friend who has spent weeks or days in the hospice and been truly looked after. That is what reaches the hearts of their family and friends and inspires them to run in the marathon relay.”

As people take to the streets with just their feet and minds to get them to the finish line we encourage you to get out there, support them, give them a cheer, make a donation to their cause, and help to make this the best ever Edinburgh Marathon Festival for the runners, the city and the many charities being supported.

Jon Heggie, Director Fundraising, St Columba’s Hospice