A DETERMINED Rugby couple ran their own personal marathon to raise money for a mental health charity, in memory of a family member who died by suicide.
Having entered this year’s Brighton Marathon, Bill Nichols and Erin Anderson-Howe were undeterred when the event was postponed due to the pandemic.
So the couple, who run a small independent clothing line called DRM, decided they would take to the streets of Rugby to raise money for their business’ fund-raising partner, Mind Coventry and Warwickshire.
Despite already using 25 per cent of their profits to fund community work including awareness-raising events, fund-raisers and direct donations, the couple wanted to go the extra 26 miles.
Erin said: “Mind is a fantastic charity, which provides crucial services for those in need. It is a charity very close to our hearts, as Bill’s younger brother Ollie unfortunately died by suicide when he was just 18 years of age. So we ran in memory of Ollie.
“When the official Brighton Marathon was cancelled, we were not prepared to put seven months of training to waste, especially after raising hundreds of pounds for Mind.”
So instead, they ran the full 26.2miles on a route taking in Houlton, Hillmorton, Newbold and a lap of Draycote Water.
Bill said: “We enjoyed the thought of planning a route around Rugby. The weather was set to be beautiful, and I felt confident and determined to get the job done, while trying to enjoy it as much as I could.”
Erin, who suffered a groin injury just a few weeks before the marathon, said: “I was really apprehensive on the day of the marathon. My injury hadn’t healed properly and it was even more daunting knowing I had missed vital training runs.
“Even though I knew it was going to be a really challenging run, I was determined to make it to the finish line no matter how many hours it took. So many people had sponsored us, and I was certainly not going to let them down.”
Bill said: “I was comfortable until around 22 miles, where I really had to push. I got cramp at 24 miles but had to run through the pain to make it in under four hours.
“It was great to have a few close people around, it made all the difference when pushing to the finish line.”
And Erin said finishing was a ‘euphoric moment’.
“I was really emotional and in a lot of pain,” she said, “but also overjoyed at the same time. I am so proud of our dedication and perseverance.
“A combination of Covid-19 and recurring injuries have made this a really challenging time, and training was not easy, but we got there in the end. You really can do anything if you believe in yourself.”
So far the couple have raised over £2,000 for Mind, and are still hoping to raise more.
Erin added: “We take every opportunity to raise vital funds for Mind, to help them keep doing their amazing work for mental health.
“The implications of the pandemic will undoubtedly have a negative effect on the mental health and wellbeing of our community. It has caused countless deaths, financial burden, uncertainty, long periods of isolation and lack of human contact. As a result the work of Mind is going to be more important now than ever before.”
Visit https://www.justgiving.com/team/wearedrm to donate.
Find out more about DRM on social media using the handle @wearedrm.