Tanita’s virtual marathon

‘Come on dad, let’s go for a run.’

Congratulations to Tanita Lewis for completing a virtual marathon, raising £280 for us. Tanita previously ran the London Marathon in 2014 and before her dad died, she promised him she would run another one day.

“I really wanted to honour this,” she said. It also seemed fitting that the London Marathon this year took place two days after the one-year anniversary of her dad’s death.

Tanita’s dad had amyloidosis which is caused by a build up of abnormal protein fibres within the tissues and organs which can lead to life-threatening organ failure. It causes the death of about one person in every thousand and there are about 6,000 cases in the UK at any time.

Donations to the Royal Free Charity support the research, development and patients of the National Amyloidosis Centre at the Royal Free Hospital.

Tanita credited the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust with giving her dad and their family “hope when it was most needed by the continued research” which is “trying to give everyone a chance at creating more memories.”

Four people running on a country road during a sunny day.
Tanita, running with friends, during her virtual marathon challenge.

Tanita didn’t manage to secure a place in the London Marathon, so she decided to run a virtual marathon in Devon, where she lives, instead. Starting the race at 5.30am, she watched the sun rise across the beach as she ran and completed 26.2 miles in four hours and 18 minutes.

“Running the marathon was an incredible, emotional experience,” she said. “I had a photo of my dad on my Royal Free running vest and said before I started to run, ‘Come on dad, let’s go for a run.’”

She was joined by her brother-in-law and three of her friends who ran by her side for part of the race and, though it was difficult at times, she was determined to persevere.

Tanita explained: “At 32k I hit a wall but thought of my dad, gritted my teeth with a few tears and carried on,” beating her previous personal best by 19 minutes.

“My dad was definitely there with me,” she said. “Me running a marathon isn’t going to bring him back, but the money could help someone keep their loved one with them longer.”

Lead photo: Tanita with her family celebrating the end of her marathon challenge