The London Marathon provides us with countless stories each year of why runners take to the 26.2 miles. Runderwearer and keen Runner Laura Edmonds shares her own personal story of why she ran the marathon here:
I am seven days away from running my first (and last) marathon. I cannot wait! All my friends are coming to support, my mum will be there and my husband is planning on racing around the course so he can see me in as many places as possible to shout encouragement or give me a hug if I need it. I could not be luckier; the people who I have around me are testament to all that is good with the world.
Roll back a year and I thought life could not get better. It was the night before our best friends wedding. We were in Ibiza about to go for the pre-wedding dinner and were having the time of our lives. It was a whirl wind of drinks, parties and sunshine. We had recently got married ourselves and were excited to be part of another new beginning.
Instead, it marked the start of a journey that I hope never to repeat. My brother called with some devastating news. My Dad who had suffered from bi-polar since the day I was born had committed suicide. Life would never be the same again. I cried the entire night on the floor of our hotel bathroom. I felt numb.
Not long after we got home I signed up to run the London marathon. I needed to do something. I was worried about raising the £1,650 I needed in order to compete and a friend suggested I hold a Ball. I felt a flicker of something. My friends rallied round, we called ourselves the Golden Girls and we began organising a night I will never forget.
We threw everything into raising money for Mental Health Research UK. It became apparent during the Inquest into my Dad's death that the drugs he had been on the majority of his adult life were largely ineffective and had horrendous side effects. There had also been very little development in the 30 years that he suffered from the illness. I could not believe with the medical developments around the world that so little had changed and made it my mission to raise as much money as possible so that research can be done to develop new drugs for future generations.
My friends and family worked together tirelessly – team extreme! We raised £22,500 on a Sunday night in Bournemouth. I was over the moon. So many people had contacted us whilst we were organising the Ball to tell us their experiences with mental health. I never knew how many people were affected; it was strangely therapeutic to share our stories. It became clear that the statistic that 1 in 4 of us is affected by mental health is absolutely true. It made the money we had raised even more important.
Not long after the Ball my training began for the marathon. I still had my target to raise for Mind to help support people who are suffering with their mental health now. I wanted to make it fun and I am a terrible baker. I knew a cake sale was not the answer! In the middle of night when I was lying awake trying to process what had happening I kept thinking "My life got flipped turned upside down." That was it! I needed to make a music video telling my story. I re-wrote the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and became the "Queen of a Run in Fresh Air". My family once again got involved, my cousin filmed and edited the video for me and my husband and mum had cameo roles. The money came flooding in once again and I hit my target two weeks after I shared the video on facebook. It was unbelievably uplifting to know that other people wanted to help others with mental health difficulties as much as I did.
It's almost a year now since my Dad died and there are still days when my heart breaks just thinking about it. The roller coaster has had highs and lows but the ups would not have been possible without my friends and family being there, sharing my excitement and mopping my tears. I will be proud to wear my Mind vest on the day. I will see the smiling faces of all those I love and be grateful for every step that I have taken with them by my side. I know my Dad will be looking down on us and will make the sun shine and I hope that one day things are different for those that suffer from conditions like bi-polar.