Siblings Decided It’s Time to Run the London Marathon in Their Dad’s Honour
Harry and Rachel Finch from Warwick lost their dad, John when they were just 16 and 15 years old. The impact of this family tragedy has given them a long-lasting legacy of trying to support other young adults going through similar experiences of losing a parent.
Both Harry and Rachel are now in their 30s, Harry has just become a father himself for the first time. In memory of their late father, they both decided to run the London Marathon and train hard to complete the epic race, Harry ran in 2022 and Rachel in 2023.
There was the obvious healthy sibling competitiveness, but the two really supported each other, on training runs, motivation, advice and obviously in helping achieve their fundraising ambitions for a cause so close to their hearts.
Their biggest motivation was to run in memory of their dad and raise money and awareness for the charity that Harry is a founding trustee of – It’s Time Charity.
It’s Time Charity exists to make the world a better place for young adults who’ve experienced the loss of a parent by providing information, advice and support. They work in partnership with like-minded organisations to conduct research, produce educational resources, provide upskilling opportunities and run a supportive and informed online community.
The charity is driven by the mission that young people deserve more, particularly considering that in the UK 1 in 7 people will lose a parent by the age of 30 and 39% of bereaved people reported difficulties in getting support from friends or family.
They’re sharing the story of their marathon achievements and the battles of training and keeping race ready as part of Think Active’s Moving Stories campaign, to hopefully inspire others to take on a challenge, get more active and maybe support a cause of their own too!
London Marathon 2023 was the second time Rachel had run a marathon, she’d previously registered for Brighton Marathon, however, after it got postponed three times, she did the Virtual Marathon instead:
“The first time I ran this distance, I put so much pressure on myself to do well and aim for a specific time. It felt so much harder than the second time around.
“This year I just went out and tried to enjoy it as much as I could, I had been injured in the lead up to race day, so I hadn’t trained for six weeks, and I didn’t think I’d be able to get through it comfortably.
“However, I ended up getting a better time and enjoyed it so much more! The atmosphere in London was unreal and just made me fall in love with the city in a completely different way, seeing the diversity and outpouring of support was incredible.” explained Rachel.
Harry emphasises the importance of taking care of yourself while training for a major challenge like a marathon. Making it clear that the process and build up to the race is as important as the race itself.
“The training is such a major part of taking on a challenge like this. I really valued my time being out in nature in the weeks and months leading up to race day. It gives you a clear mind and helps with developing more positive mental health.” Continues Harry:
“Running just settles you down and gives you time and peace to unpack your thoughts. When I was training, I was in the midst of writing the speech for Rachel’s wedding. A task I was doing for my dad, who would have been the Father of the Bride. Hitting the pavement and being out in the fresh air really helped to give me clarity. I’m not sure what Rachel would say about the quality of the speech though, despite all that!”
Rachel and Harry are now huge advocates of running for personal health and fitness, as well as for a means to raise funds and awareness for the causes closest to their hearts. They would encourage anyone to get started and give it a go.
“The beauty of running is, you can run anywhere, at any time, either on your own or together with others and you don’t need lots of expensive equipment or memberships to do it.” Explains Rachel
“It isn’t about how fast you go, or how far you travel. Some days finding the time or motivation is a real challenge, but little and often still works.”
Harry said that finding the tricks and techniques that work for you are key too:
“I don’t often run with music, I prefer having nothing in my ears, which just helps me chill out properly. In the buildup to the Marathon, I’d often put a sweat band over my watch as well, so I wasn’t obsessing about my pace or distance, and I could just be present and focused in the moment. It helped me to enjoy just running.”
Harry and Rachel both agreed that the best bit of advice for others would be: “Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, start small, enjoy the process and find a cause that means so much to you, that when the motivation is low, you know why you’re doing it.”
For more information about It’s Time Charity visit: https://www.itstimecharity.co.uk/
If you’d like advice or tips on how and where to get started, there are lots of free resources and links to groups and clubs on the Think Active website: https://thinkactive.org/