It may have been a soggy one at this year’s London Marathon, but the rain didn’t dampen the spirits of our amazing runners, nor those of our rowdy cheer squads who yelled and shouted from beneath umbrellas and waterproofs to spur our athletes along the 26.2-mile course.
While the race itself made history with more than 48,000 participants – the most the event has ever seen – team Lily also rewrote the history books with 50 fabulous runners – that’s more dedicated racers supporting our charity than ever before!
Every one of them had some connection with mitochondrial disease, whether they were running for a family member, supporting a dear friend or simply inspired by the work The Lily Foundation does. Our Lily athletes included several parents running in the name of their kids who so bravely battle mito, such as Kat running for daughter Poppy and Sid for son Bill.
Then there were the mums and dads taking part in honour of children they have sadly lost to mito. We had Lucy doing it in memory of her son Aidan, who lost his battle with mito when he was only 19 months old, and Freya running in honour of Ollie, who was just 12 days old when he died.
There are so many other moving motivations for taking part, too many for us to mention here, but a huge thank you to everyone who sprinted – or limped! – their way across that finish line, helping us to raise an incredible total of over £117,000, with that figure likely to rise even more as those final pledges are honoured.
As we know, it’s not about the time, it’s about crossing the line, however a big shoutout to Ian who was our fastest finisher, completing the race in an impressive 2 hours, 57 minutes and 7 seconds. Ian’s wife works as a researcher into mitochondrial disease at Newcastle University, so we’re sure his exceptional effort will spur her and her colleagues on even more in their search for that elusive cure.
And finally, a special mention to Donna, who ran in honour of son Harry turning 13. Harry wasn’t expected to reach his 10th birthday, so while he continues to defy the odds, so does mum Donna, who is visually impaired and ran the entire race with her running guide and trainer Michelle by her side.
It was quite a gathering when our finishers eventually made their way to the Horse & Groom pub in Belgravia. As well as tears and blisters and a few aches and pains, there were enormous smiles and plenty of hugs, plus delicious food and drink and a rejuvenating leg massage for our deserving fundraisers.
Lily runner Caroline commented, “It was such an amazing and unforgettable experience and I was so happy to be raising money for such a special and important cause” while Sarah reflected, “Wow, what an honour to be a member of the Lily Team as today I got to meet SO many awesome, amazing, extraordinary, lovely people.” John said he was so proud to be running for such an amazing charity, while another runner described the support they received along their marathon journey as “unreal”.
Hats off to the incredible achievements of every single runner, all the inspiration they’ve given us and all the funds they’ve raised for us. That money will go towards supporting patients and families affected by mitochondrial disease, and help fund scientific research into new treatments in the hope of one day finding a cure.
Feeling inspired? We’re already accepting applications for next year, so enter now and join Team Lily in achieving something really special again in 2024!