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How can you tell if someone ran a Marathon? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you!

Karen, Kev and Sarah before the Great North Run

Designer and resident runner bean, Sarah Hardman, on her marathon prep and the reason behind running twenty-six miles.

Last year Karen, Kev and myself headed to Newcastle to take part in the Great North Run. We crossed the finish line with an enormous sense of achievement, but our blistered feet and tired legs made us swear we’d never, EVER run a single mile more.

But, like Mothers who remember labour pains as being less extreme than they actually were (I can’t speak from my own experience, but I know a few mums) - we forgot our oath and signed up for a full Marathon - this time, down the road in Liverpool. Why not, we figured, we were half way trained already...

And so, we embarked on a 20-week training plan, sticking to it most weeks, coming unstuck others! Running club started up again in early January with our minds set on the big day. Sunday the 14th of June felt like a long way away back then, but now here we are, in the final throws of training, ready to hit the streets of Merseyside for a rock and roll marathon. Running through our lunch hour, over the weekends and even all the way home (once) - a 22 miler from Manchester to Warrington being our final long distance run.

Just as we began to train, some friends of mine became aware that their eighteen month old daughter Elspeth had a condition called Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a progressive neuromuscular disease in which faulty nerve cells prevent muscles from functioning properly. Elspeth has SMA type 2, which whilst not the most severe form, means she cannot stand, crawl or walk. In time she will face her share of challenges as the disease progresses.


The timing of our marathon seemed ‘meant to be’ and we saw an opportunity to raise some money for this precious little girl. Looking to the immediate future Elspeth will greatly benefit from acquiring some wheels. The NHS is not able to fund powered wheelchairs for under 5s and the one which will suit her best costs just over £20,000.

If you would like to help us contribute a portion of the money needed for Elspeth to get mobile and help her face some of the challenges ahead then you can sponsor us here:

To find out more about SMA, Elspeth and the wheelchair you can visit

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