Great North Run diary pt 4: emotions run high as race gets near

GRIEF and an overwhelming sense of pride have flooded Helen Russell’s emotions recently as the Great North Run start line looms ever closer…

THERE are some pretty big changes happening in my life right now.
I’m leaving my job, changing careers, going back to college and heading into the unknown world of self employment.

And my lovely Nana passed away.

Margaret Christina Gallagher was probably the most inspirational and strongest woman I have ever known and I am tremendously proud that she was my Nana. My youngest daughter was named Alice Christina in her honour. Nana had the heart of a lion right until the very end.

Helen Russell with husband Sean on their wedding day in October 2011 either side of her Nana who died recently.

Helen Russell with husband Sean on their wedding day in October 2011 either side of her Nana who died recently.

Several things are helping me get my head around these things – wonderful family and friends, big sloppy toddler cuddles, writing and focusing on this fundraising challenge.
(Prosecco, gin and chicken kievs have also helped enormously.)

I did actually take a break from exercise in the week leading up to Nana’s passing, as I just felt too sad and tired and didn’t have the mental energy to go out pounding the pavements.

“It would seem that, with a heavy heart, comes heavy legs which don’t want to move far. But I’m still making progress. I can run four miles now.”

Or if I give the distance in kilometres and say “I can run 6.5km now” that sounds even more impressive.

Helen Russell's beloved Nana, Margaret Christina, holding her youngest daughter, Alice Christina, who was named in her honour, pictured in August 2015.

Helen Russell’s beloved Nana, Margaret Christina, holding her youngest daughter, Alice Christina, who was named in her honour, pictured in August 2015.

I had a burst of euphoria after handing my notice in at work which propelled me to run my furthest distance yet – just over four miles.

Read about Helen’s inspirational Great North Run story so far…

Blog one: What I lack in fitness I make up for in determination

Blog two: A second wardrobe malfunction but the endorphins kick in

Blog three: Pregnancy flashback during the last push

So with the physical side of my training progressing slowly but surely, I’ve shifted focus to the fundraising side of proceedings.

I held a thoroughly enjoyable tombola stall at the Tesco in St Helen Auckland, with my in-laws Mick and Dot, which raised just over £234 for One To One – The Befriender Scheme.

Several evenings, when perhaps I would normally have gone running, were taken up with organising and collecting prizes, sticking tickets on them, and folding 800 raffle tickets…. A few Sherries made that laborious task much more bearable.
We ended up with over 100 prizes which were so good, I even had a flutter myself. Our last prize was claimed just over three hours after setting up.

Helen Russell with her mother-in-law Dot running the tombola stall in Tesco to raise money for One to One The Befriender Scheme charity.

Helen Russell with her mother-in-law Dot running the tombola stall in Tesco to raise money for One to One The Befriender Scheme charity.

It was fascinating to meet the mother of one of the charity’s users during the event and hear what a positive impact it’s had on her son’s life.
It just reinforces why this is such a worthwhile charity to support.

So thanks to the tombola and my first few sponsors on the online sponsorship page, I’ve raised nearly £500, with Gift Aid. I am amazed and delighted to have reached that total in such a short space of time and I can’t thank people enough who have donated tombola prizes, sponsored me, or even just offered some kind words of support.

To help support the cause, no matter how small the donation, please click here.

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