Sam shares why he fundraised for Child Bereavement UK by taking on the Barcelona Marathon in memory of his father

The inspiration behind this challenge was my Dad - when I lost him, I felt as if my whole life had been turned upside down. I had no idea whatsoever as to how to deal with my emotions, who to talk to or what was the best way to move forward.

I decided to take on the Barcelona Marathon and dedicate it to my Dad, who passed away in 2016 when I was 15. I wanted to push myself in a way I had never done before, all while raising awareness for the wonderful charity that is Child Bereavement UK; I want anyone else affected by the loss of a loved, or who will face loss in the future, to know that they’re not alone and that there are people out there who can help them.

The inspiration behind this challenge was my Dad - when I lost him, I felt as if my whole life had been turned upside down. I had no idea whatsoever as to how to deal with my emotions, who to talk to or what was the best way to move forward. As a consequence, I bottled up my emotions for a long time and put on a brave face, so I seemed “okay” in front of friends and family. It took me a while, but slowly I realised that this was not healthy and that it is always better to reach out to someone. Over the course of a few years, I have opened up more and more to close friends, who I know will always be there for me. 

When I found out about the superb work that Child Bereavement UK does to support people going through loss, I thought it was definitely something I wanted to shed a light on. I wanted to express to people that they are not alone through these situations, and that it is always better to seek help rather than shutting the door on all emotions. 

In order to properly prepare for the marathon, I trained for three and a half months. As I was never “a runner” before, it turned out to be a lot harder than initially anticipated! Training on cold nights after work through rain and snow wasn’t exactly enjoyable at first, however remembering what I was doing it for and having the support of the lovely people who donated, and the people working at Child Bereavement UK, spurred me on. This was something that took a lot of physical as well as mental resilience and is something of which I am so proud!

Completing the challenge was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had - the emotions I felt crossing that finish line are something I will never forget. Over the course of my training and the race, I have gained a higher level of physical fitness, but also my mental health has improved; it’s stereotypical, but the runner’s high is a real thing! I was able to take myself away from any distractions and focus on the task at hand. Furthermore, I felt more comfortable talking to people about why I was doing it and what was inspiring me. I have proved to myself that when things get tough, you can get through them with determination and support from friends and family.

The team at Child Bereavement UK were absolutely superb throughout this whole journey, constantly checking in with me, organising a marathon vest for me, wishing me luck before the race and congratulating me shortly after! I genuinely appreciated all the support from the charity and everyone that was involved.

If anyone is considering doing a challenge, whether it be a marathon or something else, my advice would be to go for it! It may seem daunting at first, however if you put in the work and train properly it gives you such an amazing sense of achievement, especially if fundraising for Child Bereavement UK as you know that the money raised is going towards such a truly amazing cause.


If you have been inspired to take on a challenge for us, please visit our challenge events page, contact our fundraising team on [email protected] or call us on 01494 569048.