My Edinburgh Marathon Festival journey

2nd March 2017

Emma last year ran the marathon at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival for SAMH in memory of family members lost to suicide. She tells SAMH about her motivations to run, and the challenges along the way. 

‘In early 2015 my step brother died by suicide. I didn’t know him well and had only met him a few times but I remember him to be tall, handsome and smiling. During this time I thought a lot about mental health and what it means. Good mental health allows us to be resilient, productive and positive and I hadn’t realised how grateful I am to have those strengths.

I have always been aware of the links between mental and physical health. I know myself when I'm not active, feelings of lethargy creep in that can affect my wellbeing. A couple of years before my step brother died I took up running.

I joke about running saving my soul, but I know that it has definitely helped me through some tough times.  

My step brother’s death made me value my life and my health more acutely. I wanted to mark that somehow and also do something to commemorate his life.

I decided to run the marathon at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, so I could raise money for SAMH which would go towards supporting people and their families in times of crisis, whilst becoming fitter and stronger myself.

Training was tough but I was focused and it was never an option that I wouldn’t complete the 26 miles. There were days that I felt like not going out, but I told myself that what I was feeling was nothing compared to the pain of someone with suicidal thoughts. And then I would run fast and strong.

Three weeks before the marathon my brother-in-law died by suicide. It was an extremely sad time. Having to tell my children that their beloved uncle was dead was possibly the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It also meant that I would run this marathon for two brothers. Neither of which were blood relatives and two very different men, but two good men, both lost to suicide.

It was an extremely emotional day, but I finished it. 

The team at SAMH were great and supportive and I was delighted to raise money for this cause and hopefully help alleviate some of the pain that a family or individual may have to face.’

Over 60 people have already signed up for the Edinburgh Marathon Festival, to support Scotland’s mental health.You can find out more about the Edinburgh Marathon Festival or fundraising for SAMH.