Marathon mum takes on four races for Rockinghorse

Sarah Webster, from Horsted Keynes, is taking on two half marathons, one bike ride and...

Sarah Webster, from Horsted Keynes, is taking on two half marathons, one bike ride and the virtual London marathon over two months in aid of Rockinghorse.

Sarah has raised money for us before, running in most of the Brighton half marathons events since they began. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the dates of many of the larger challenge events this year, all the races that she was planning to take part in are now happening between August and October.

First, she will be running in the London Landmarks Half Marathon on 1 August, in September it will be the Brighton Marathon Bike Ride, and in October it’s the Virtual London Marathon followed by the Brighton Half Marathon.

Sarah explained more about the challenges: “Having them close together wasn’t the plan, but because some of them were postponed from last year they just happen to have fallen around the same time.

“The half marathons are fine as I’m used to them, and the bike ride will be ok. But while I have organised my own route for the virtual London Marathon, it’s not an easy flat route. There are some quite hilly bits throughout the course so it might be more of a challenge but I’m looking forward to it!”

Sarah is hoping to raise as much money as she can for us after all the support her 12-year-old daughter Amber Lily received from the Royal Alexandra Children’s Hospital.

Amber Lily is Sarah’s youngest child and was born 26 weeks prematurely, weighing only 1.6lbs, while the family were living in Dubai. Whilst they wanted to get Amber Lily back to the UK for treatment as quickly as possible, it simply wasn’t possible while she was still so small and fragile.

But Sarah kept in contact with the Trevor Mann Baby Unit in Brighton to check that Amber Lily was getting the same kind of treatment in Dubai that she would have got back at home. And eventually when she was three and a half months old, they brought Amber Lily back, taking her immediately to the Special Care Baby Unit in the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

And while she still weighed only 5lbs, she was put under the care of the wonderful staff at the hospital who helped manage the problems she had with her lungs and eyes arising from being born so early.

Since then, Amber Lily has continued to have treatment for chronic lung damage, asthma and pneumonia and this experience prompted Sarah to start fundraising for the charity: “I was aware of the support Rockinghorse offered as my two older sons were occasionally treated at the old Alex but having spent so much more time in the hospital with Amber Lily, you realise how hard it is on the whole family.

“Raising funds for them means that I can hopefully help make that experience a little bit easier for other children and their families. You can’t stop children getting sick, but you can help make a difference.

Sarah’s fundraising has even seen her running right past the hospital when Amber Lily was receiving treatment: “Last time she was in the Alex I was running the Brighton half right past her. She kept me going on that run; I’d had no sleep as I had been sleeping on the floor at the Alex next to Amber Lily the night before, but my whole purpose was to run because her lungs meant she couldn’t.”

Lucy Pond, Challenge Fundraising Manager at Rockinghorse is impressed with Sarah’s stamina: “We are always so thankful to any of our supporters who take on even one of these events in aid of Rockinghorse. But for Sarah, she has really pushed the boat out. Taking part in one of these would be fantastic all four is a truly amazing achievement and we couldn’t be more grateful for her support. We wish her all the best and hope she’s not too tired at the end of October!”

And as Sarah continued, her reason for taking on these challenges and raising money for Rockinghorse is simple: “Children are everyone’s priority and god forbid anyone would have to use the Alex. But if you ever do it’s a great feeling to know you have made their experience less stressful.”

If you’d like to sign up for one of our challenge events, just click here. And to sponsor Sarah, just click here.