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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Cumbrian woman smashes her London Marathon target in dad’s memory

Having signed up to run the London Marathon in memory of her dad, Ruth Forster had to raise a daunting £2,000.

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Supported: Ruth Forster running the London Marathon to raise money for Kidney Research UK

But with the help of the Brampton community she has smashed her target, in the end raising more than double that for Kidney Research UK.

The 24-year-old said she was over the moon with her total of £4,700, which will help prevent deaths from kidney disease.

Ruth’s dad Geoff died in 2006, aged 54, but at one point the chances of him even reaching his thirties were slim.

He was just 25 when he suffered from kidney failure and needed a transplant to survive. He and wife Alma were told that as a result they would probably never have children.

But after a second transplant, they were amazed to find out they were expecting.

Ruth was born, but Geoff’s health had taken a turn for the worse and it was touch and go whether he would pull through. But he battled through and went on to have 16 years with the daughter he adored.

Although losing him when she was just a teenager was tough, she sees herself as lucky to have had that time and now wants to help other people with kidney disease to have longer with their families – which is why she signed up to run the London Marathon in April this year.

Since January she has been training hard, determined she would complete the course to raise as much as possible.

Despite it being very hot on the day she made it around the 26-mile course in four-and-a-half hours, and said it proved to be a highly emotional day for her.

“It was an incredible experience. The spirit from the crowd was just amazing.

“I was really lucky to have some friends down to support me and managed to see people I knew on about five occasions, but when I did it was really emotional. Every time I saw someone I knew I started to cry. And I had to stop reading the messages on people’s vests saying why they were doing it because I kept crying.

“Physically I’d trained up to 21 miles before hand so I said to myself; ‘I can do this’. It was hard and at one point I did think about walking for a bit, but I knew I wouldn’t start again if I did, so I powered through. I’d recommend it to anyone.

“I remember at one point turning a corner and right in front of me was London Bridge. As I ran over that I felt like I was on top of the world.”

Afterwards Ruth said she was on such a high that she found it difficult to accept it was over. “For the first two weeks after it I was on a ‘marathon downer’.

“I kept thinking about it. Since January it had taken over my life – I just felt I had a big void afterwards. In a way I felt more sense of achievement from running the marathon than I did from finishing my degree,” she added.

But it wasn’t just the run that gave her a sense of achievement, it was the total she managed to raise for a cause so close to her heart. “I feel so lucky to have had so much support. I never thought I’d get anywhere near that figure” she added.

“I feel lucky to be part of such an amazing community. My entire family is from Brampton. When I think how much people have supported me it just gives me a warm feeling. It’s a great place.”

As well as individual donations, friends and family also helped her boost the total – with one holding a fundraising event which brought in £1,700.

PMcGowan@cngroup.co.uk

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