Amelie’s marathon walk

Amelie Leatherland, a 14-year-old from Brighton, decided to walk the Brighton marathon route to raise...

Amelie Leatherland, a 14-year-old from Brighton, decided to walk the Brighton marathon route to raise money for Rockinghorse.

Amelie enjoys walking around her hometown of Brighton and taking in the sights but hadn’t realised how far she was capable of walking until a day out with her mum Sara.

During lockdown, Amelie and her family enjoyed getting out in the fresh air to ease the boredom of being stuck inside all day. On one particular day, after walking to the beach and around the quiet streets of Brighton, she was amazed when her mum told her that she had walked 5 miles.

This made Amelie think: “I realised that if I could walk that far without even realising it, perhaps I could do a walk for charity. I asked my dad if he thought walking the length of a marathon was too far, but he said he thought I should give it a go.”

“I decided to raise money for Rockinghorse because I thought it was a great local charity that really helps young people like me in Brighton. I was hoping we could reach £100 but we put a target of £200 on our fundraising page and I was incredibly proud to reach £500 in the end!”

Marathon route

Setting the route

Amelie’s parents Sara and Paul are both keen marathon runners so they helped design a route that would take Amelie on a similar course to the Brighton marathon, altering it slightly so that Amelie could have a comfort break back at home halfway through the journey and then ending in Preston Park for the last couple of miles.

So, on a lovely July Saturday Amelie and her dad Paul set off down Dyke Road and made their way along Church Road and down to end of Hove Lagoon and then walked along the seafront. Sara cycled to meet them at the 20-mile mark to give a little moral support before they made their way on to Brighton Marina and then back to finish the final laps in Preston Park, eventually clocking up the required 26.2miles after 7 hours and 50 minutes walking time.


Tired but happy

Amelie really enjoyed the walk but towards the end her pace dropped as it start to get a bit harder: “Walking around the Level towards Preston Park at the end I was starting to get really tired. But what I didn’t know was that my mum had organised some surprises for my last few miles. When I walked into the park my friend and her mum were waiting to walk with me which was a real boost and made the last stretch a bit easier.”

But that wasn’t the only surprise. Sara had arranged some more friends to join in a little further on around Preston Park. Amelie’s grandmother and the family dog, Cooper were the final welcome surprise for the tired walker. At the end Amelie happily sat and relaxed in the park eating a well-earnt ice-cream.

At the end of the marathon Amelie was able to sit down and enjoy a well-earned ice cream in the park. “I was really tired, and my legs and feet hurt so much but by the next day there were fine. During lockdown we didn’t have much to do so I thought it would be good to try and do something for a good cause. I ended up really enjoying walking along the sea and taking in the sights around Brighton. Anyone can do something like this around where they live and it’s great to help out a local charity at the same time.”

Amelie with friends and dog Cooper

Much needed support

Support like this, especially at the moment, is a lifeline to many charities, including Rockinghorse, who have seen their fundraising revenue plummet during the coronavirus pandemic. Hollie Trezise, Schools and Community Fundraiser for Rockinghorse, explains why the support of fundraisers like Amelie is so important at the moment; “People often think that one person can’t make a difference, but every single penny really does helps us continue to support sick and poorly babies and children across Sussex.

Over the past four months we have had to cancel countless events, not to mention the income we have lost from marathon season, so we are relying on people like Amelie to help us. It’s truly inspirational when we see young people going out of their way to support other children in their community and we hope Amelie inspires other people to think about what they can do to help.”  

There are many ways you can help support Rockinghorse, whether it’s undertaking a new challenge yourself or sponsoring someone who is, it all helps. For more fundraising ideas or to see how we are helping the local community, take a look here or contact us.