"I was running for Ian"
Gill's London Marathon journey
Gill joined Team Plan for the London Marathon 2016 to run in memory of her husband Ian. We think that Gill is amazing and we wanted to share her inspirational story.
Gill’s husband Ian sadly passed away in February 2015 in Mombasa, Kenya. The country is very close to all of the family’s hearts and Gill wanted to do something to honour Ian as well as contribute directly to communities in Kenya.
Over the next few months, training and fundraising for the Virgin London Marathon became Gill’s focus.
All of Gill’s family were hugely supportive throughout her marathon journey. Her daughter Lee-Anne became her campaign manager sending out emails to friends, family and former colleagues to Ian’s extensive network all around the world.
Gill also set up an online sponsorship page with JustGiving and a dedicated Twitter profile and Facebook page to keep her supporters updated.
As an International Radio Ham, Ian held both a UK and Kenyan Radio Licence and had a huge amount of Radio Equipment. A group of Ian’s Radio Hams ‘unreservedly and selflessly’ gave up their time to help Gill to sort through and sell his equipment, with all proceeds going towards Gill’s fundraising.
Gill says that she was able to fundraise “through the huge generosity, kindness and thought from Ian's colleagues worldwide, friends, and our family. A totally overwhelming experience when I was trying to focus day to day, which was a huge struggle”.
“Training was hard. I joined a gym, made new friends and this opened up a new beginning for me.”
Although Gill had previously completed a 10k, for the marathon she hired a personal trainer after finding her marathon training programme too intense.
Gill says, “I met Kath, who set a training programme for me that was achievable. I began to enjoy running, training and the stretch classes. Kath was an inspiration and her motivation was awesome.”
Gill completed her training runs in the beautiful surroundings of rural West Wales. To keep safe, she always let her neighbours know when she was back from her run and says that she always felt Ian’s presence was with her "helping her along".
Over the course of Gill’s training her family faced many challenges, whilst trying to cope with the loss of their beloved husband and father. Gill says that “I wanted my three children to be proud of my achievement, as I was trying so incredibly hard to be brave and strong”.
Race day: “an experience I will never forget!”
“I have had wonderful life experiences and this was among the best. The whole journey to race day was challenging despite my family and friends it was a huge learning curve and very emotional, but in the end the day was for Ian”.
“My family knew where I would be on the run due to the tracking app and were waiting for me to run past. To see and hear them was a huge boost”
“My motivation increased when running on the route. One of Ian's favourite songs was being played, he was with me.” Many fellow runners were running for causes close to their hearts.
“The team from Plan International UK were on the route and full of enthusiasm and support, brilliant, brilliant and more brilliant. I would do it again.”
“I ran the London Marathon 2016, got the finishers running shirt, the medal and raised money in memory of my wonderful, lovely Ian.”
The next challenge
Since the London Marathon, Gill has taken part in the Swansea Half Marathon and will run the Tenby 10k and Rainbow Run in September, as well as taking part in a marathon walk.
She has also applied for a place in the ballot for the London Marathon 2017 and also has “a niggle in my head – the New York Marathon!”
For those thinking of taking on a challenge Gill says, "remember you are harder than you believe, stronger than you feel and smarter than you think."
There are lots of opportunities to acheive your goals with Team Plan. Find out more about how you can join our team.