January, 2016

Challenge inspires poem

News Release: Mum’s mega marathon challenge inspires daughter’s prize-winning poem

Alice and Helen McLoughlin

A MUM’S pledge to run 10 marathons in 10 days to fundraise for vulnerable youngsters has inspired her daughter’s prize-winning poem.

Ten-year-old Alice McLoughlin’s description of her mum’s feelings on the starting line has won her a Young Writer’s award and her poem will be published in a book.

Proud mum Helen, a staff midwife at the Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby, says Alice captured her emotions very well and, along with other family members, is now helping her prepare for her ‘10in10’ challenge this May.

Overcoming immense physical and psychological challenges as she re-runs the same marathon each day – a lap of the Lake District’s Lake Windermere; Helen is raising funds for youth charity Brathay Trust. They work with over 6,000 vulnerable children and young people across the UK each year helping them to turn their lives around. Helen hopes to raise £3,500.

The 38 year old only recently found her vocation in life, qualifying as a midwife in 2012. She is fitting her training in around long shifts at the busy maternity unit and looking after her family – husband Steve, son Jack and Alice who live in Grimsby.

Helen says she had no affinity for sport at school but started running when her son was born 14 years ago.
“My first ‘race’ was the Race for Life in Cleethorpes” said Helen.

“I finished eighth out of over 1,000 participants. I realised that I had found something I could do well which made me feel brilliant! From then on I took part in lots of local races running up to half marathon distances. My first road marathon was the London Marathon which I ran in 2004. I have now completed eight marathons and usually complete them in around 4 hours.

“I decided to apply for Brathay’s 10in10 after following local runner Tony Hooper and his amazing journey as part of the 2015 team. He is my inspiration for taking part and his experience of it is helping me to prepare. I am both excited and nervous about the journey which lies ahead. I am looking forward to some life-changing moments including crossing the finishing line on day 10 spurred on by friends and family.”

Helen’s challenge starts on Friday 13 May and ends on Sunday 22 May. Regarded as one of the toughest UK marathons, adventurer and Everest climber Bear Grylls calls it “an epic challenge that will require an epic strength of mind”.

Brathay’s Head of Fundraising Scott Umpleby says the charity greatly appreciates the support of people like Helen, one of 12 runners taking part in Brathay’s ‘10in10’ this year. He said:

“Helen’s fundraising is helping youngsters like Joe. He has been in care since he was seven years old and needs help to make the transition to independent living. And ‘D’, who had to live with his violent dad when his mum died. Whilst we can’t wipe away all the terrible things that have happened to the young people we work with we can put them on the path to new and better lives. Every penny raised leads to a new beginning for a child who has had a hard life.”

To sponsor Helen please visit

For more details of Brathay’s 10th anniversary fundraising event and how to enter the Brathay Half Marathon and Windermere Marathon on Sunday 22 May please visit:
Image shows: Helen with daughter Alice.