Lisa took part in the London Marathon for Child Bereavement UK in memory of her brothers who died of a genetic condition aged two and a half and four.

The pain of losing someone never leaves you, it forms you, is part of you, but if I can help others to reach that point just a little sooner then that would be a good thing.

I wanted to run the London Marathon in memory of my two brothers, for my younger self who was defined by the loss, and for my older self for whom it still sits sadly and always will. I also ran it for my sister and for my family. At the time mum and dad had relatively little support to help them navigate their way through their own loss, let alone help us as children to find our path through it as well.

Preparing for the event, the innate accountant and perfectionist (aka control freak!) in me couldn’t take on the preparation for the marathon without a good plan – a good plan equals a good spreadsheet! I wanted to give myself a good amount of training time and many plans I looked at were only for four months, but I wanted to allow six.

Eventually, I found one via the Nuffield Health website which I adapted and turned into a very easy to follow spreadsheet which enabled me to build my running distance and time, as well as core strength, over six months. I felt really happy and prepared for the day – although nothing quite prepares you for the actual day!

The internal journey was immense, not just physically but emotionally. My brothers dying had been this huge ‘secret’. When it happened, all those years ago, my parents’ way of coping was to keep it under wraps; we simply didn’t talk about it. Some of my close friends knew, many didn’t, and it only really came up in conversation in a ‘negative’ way. When I was down or going through a particularly stressful period, it would always come to the fore, especially with mum having lost her battle with cancer twenty years ago.

Opening up my story wasn’t about letting people know, it was only about trying to help others and raise awareness. Through that I felt, finally, I had also set my brothers free – they were finally at rest – on my part at least. They ran every single step with me and even now that is so very powerful and emotional, but in a more positive sense - the negativity and hurt has been set free. They are no longer a secret.

The pain of losing someone never leaves you, it forms you, is part of you, but if I can help others to reach that point just a little sooner then that would be a good thing.

Embrace the training, embrace the whole journey, lift your head up high and ENJOY IT!

The physical and mental achievement of running the London Marathon on the dawn of my 50th birthday is something I will never forget and hope very much to repeat again one day.

The day itself was colossal, an experience so very hard to put into words – my husband was running too (for a different charity) so we had trained together and enjoyed the whole build up together. We arrived at the park together, ran the first couple of hundred metres together but then went on to do our own runs. He was there for me at the end and having shared the whole experience with him was extremely special.

I am so immeasurably grateful to Child Bereavement UK for allocating me one of their spots. They were wonderful throughout; from the very start, setting up the WhatsApp group so that the runners for that year were all able to keep in touch and share their training progress was brilliant. The communication throughout was seamless.

The charity’s cheer point on the day was an absolute highlight and positioned just at the right spot to give those tired aching legs an extra boost of energy. The reception held after the event was lovely too, and the fact that my family and friends who had been out supporting me on the day could come too was really lovely. It was also fantastic to finally meet some of my wonderful fellow runners on the day as well as say hi to the Child Bereavement UK team.

If you’re thinking of doing a challenge event, just go for it. It doesn’t have to be a marathon, it could be anything that is a personal challenge. Embrace the training (because, for the marathon at least, I would say that is about 80% of the challenge!), embrace the whole journey, lift your head up high and ENJOY IT!