LOC technician Cat to run the St Albans Half Marathon with Aaron in his wheelchair
This Sunday 10th June, London Orthotic Consultancy technician Cat (who you may remember from her recent charity marathon in Sierra Leone) will be running the St Albans Half Marathon with Aaron, one of LOC’s patients. The hope is to run (jog, walk or crawl…) the entire 13.1 miles together, with Aaron in his wheelchair and Cat pushing behind.
Cat and Aaron are tackling the scenic and hilly country lanes of Hertfordshire to help raise money for students of St Giles School in Croydon. St Giles educates pupils between the ages of 4 to 19 years of age. Students who attend have physical disabilities, complex medical needs and complex speech and language difficulties. All the pupils have profound, severe or moderate learning difficulties.
Photo courtesy of St Giles, Yellow class have fun during water play cooperation
The money donated from the challenge will go towards creating a much-needed sensory garden for the students of St Giles, which will cost a total of £50,000. This garden will enrich current and future pupils lives every day for years to come.
Nine-year-old Aaron is not only a patient of LOC, but he’s also the son of our incredibly talented leather work technician Philip Gipps. For the past nine months, Philip has been using his 30 years of knowledge and experience to train Cat in the world of orthotics.
Photo courtesy of St Giles
Cat and Aaron cross the finish line!
"Aaron and I completed the St Albans Wheelchair Marathon in a time of 2 hours 49 mins. I was very anxious before the race started, though I think my nerves were more to do with hoping that Aaron would enjoy the overall experience, rather than the race itself.
However, as soon as the half marathon started I was relieved to find that Aaron was laughing and smiling for the entire route. He was very excited by the other runners and crowds. As we were the only wheelchair entrants amongst 2,800 runners, we gained a lot of attention with lots of people wanting to high-five Aaron and congratulate him for taking part.
The route was very beautiful, taking us along hidden country lanes with views over the rolling fields. It was more hilly that I had anticipated, but on the two biggest hills two wonderful ladies named Susan and Annabelle took Aaron from me and insisted on pushing his wheelchair up there. Another surprise happened at mile eight, where Annabelle’s husband Gavin was a marshal on the course. As they’d run ahead of us, Annabelle had asked him to help us when we passed by. He ran with Aaron for well over a mile and was actually faster than me even while pushing the wheelchair! The help from other runners was a real relief for me and it was a real joy to have the opportunity to run besides Aaron and see his face light up as we ran. A few more people helped along the way, including a cyclist who was on the route to give a morale boost to any flagging runners. While chatting with her, I discovered that she was the first woman to win the first St Albans Half Marathon 37 years ago.
The race finished back in St Albans Verulamium Park. It was an incredibly emotional experience, crossing the line to meet Aaron’s mum, dad, brother and aunt. The crowds were delighted to see us back and gave a huge cheer as it was announced we were the winners (by default, being the only entrants) of the St Albans Wheelchair Half Marathon.
Both Aaron and I was exhausted after the race, but both happy with our medals around our necks. Philip, my colleague and Aaron’s Dad, has since told me that Aaron has told all his school friends that he came first in the race and even asked his Dad when the next marathon would be. It really was wonderful experience, I am so pleased Aaron enjoyed the day and we have been able to raise some much needed donation money for the students of St Giles."
If you too would also like donate, you can visit Aaron and Cat’s Virgin Money Giving Page here. Any kind donation will go towards creating a lasting impact for the wonderful students of St Giles School.
Find out more about the St Giles School here: http://www.st-gilesschool.co.uk
And the St Alban’s marathon here: https://www.stalbanshalfmarathon.com/