A 25-year-old Leicester woman with very little running experience took on the challenge of the London Marathon in memory of her cousin who died at only 15 years old.
Georgina Gilbert is a product manager at chemistry company Lubrizol at its UK headquarters in Hazelwood. The London marathon was her first ever race, with Georgina going from beginner runner to taking on the prestigious event in the space of a few months.
Georgina was inspired to take on the huge challenge to raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust, which was one of the charities which supported her family through the illness of her cousin Emily, who sadly passed away aged just 15 in December 2021, from complications of a rare condition – only months after she had been diagnosed.
Georgina said: “Emily received treatment on the Teenage Cancer Trust ward at the Leicester Royal Infirmary. The charity provided a comfortable space, resources and support for the whole family.
“Emily was able to benefit from the support in many practical ways. The charity supplied Leicester Royal Infirmary with a purpose-built ward for 13 -24 year olds. The room that Emily was able to use as an inpatient and a day patient was equipped with comfortable soft furniture, TV and gaming facilities. They also provided laptops and Wi-Fi specifically for the teenagers on the ward.
“It’s impossible to comprehend how very poorly a young person can become very quickly until it happens to your family. Every step of the way Emily’s parents and siblings were supported to make what was an awful time so much easier for them.
“Life probably will never be the same now Emily has gone. You see these stories in the news about young people getting ill, you never really expect it to happen to your family.”
Georgina entered the ballot for the London Marathon after the passing of Emily and was amazed to have won a place having done very little running, much less enter any race.
She said: “Originally when I entered for a ballot place, I wasn’t expecting to get a spot – friends persuaded me to put my name in. When I found out I had been selected for a ballot place I knew I had to do it. It was an amazing opportunity that not many get the chance to do.
“I hadn’t done any running previously. This was the first race I’d entered. I followed a 16-week training programme and I’d dedicate my weekends to running, plus two runs during the week. The training was difficult but I knew it would be worth it.
“It was a massive commitment to train for something like that. Days when I am in the office I commute from Leicester to Derby – a two hour round trip. There were times when I would get home and not want to run, but you have to. It does teach you about discipline.
“It was an amazing experience. It’s definitely something I won’t forget. It was really hard, but so worth it when I passed the finish line. Family and friends came down and were cheering me on, which really got me through it to be honest! I’m really proud of myself. It proves that if you put your mind to something, you can do anything. You can go from beginner to running a marathon.”
Georgina said she has been very grateful for the support from Lubrizol in providing a generous donation to her run for the Teenage Cancer Trust, through its charities and communities committee, as well as from Lubrizol colleagues, many of whom have sponsored her too.
She said: “I’m very grateful for Lubrizol’s support. It was a really inspiring day. It really put things into perspective for me that everyone has tough things they are dealing with. Reading the media can be very negative but in reality, there are a lot of very kind people out there.”
Claire Hollingshurst, from Lubrizol’s charities and communities committee, said: “Georgina’s achievement in completing the London marathon for such a very worthy cause is completely inspiring, especially as she was only a beginner runner at the start of her training. We were very proud to be able to support her donation through our charities committee.”
Georgina has raised nearly £2,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Donations to her fundraising are still open via this link: 2023tcslondonmarathon.enthuse.com/pf/georgina-gilbert