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Kiara Star's Marathon- by Jayne Calway

It is so wonderful when parents get in touch with us and tell us what they have been up to. Lovely Jayne ran the Brighton Marathon at the beginning of April in memory of her precious Kiara-Star.

Here is her story- Kiara Star’s Marathon

"It all started back in July when a huge wave of grief swept over me. It took a firm hold and there seemed like no way out. I’d had waves before but had usually been able to get some relief; but this was different. This was all-consuming and wasn’t letting go. Then one late evening, I randomly saw the Brighton Marathon pop up and something in me said ‘why not?’ Although it was rather ironic, as I’ve never run before and do not even like walking let alone running. I went into the bedroom and said to my husband: “I think I’ve just signed up for the Brighton Marathon.” It was a big surprise but he was very supportive and he was amazing the whole way through. He was constantly telling me how proud he was and was always there for me.

As you can imagine, when I started telling people the disbelief in their faces was hilarious and spurred me on more. “What? You? Run?” At first, I was aiming to fast walk the 26.2 miles and signed up with a goal of 7 1/2 hours.

However, a couple of months later, my dearest friend Chris, who I met at university, offered to support me with my training and be by my side. She enjoys running and had already successfully completed two half marathons. She was my personal trainer and I’ll be honest as much as I love her sometimes my body did not like her very much . She was perfect in every way; she comforted me, praised me, encouraged me, pushed me and challenged me in productive ways and made the journey so much easier.

At one point, the Brighton marathon looked like it was going to be cancelled and many people thought I’d be pleased, however, I was truly upset. This was Kiara-Star’s marathon; this was all about our beautiful baby girl and we were completing this in her honour and to raise money for your amazing much-needed charity. We really wanted to support other families as we understand how truly heart-breaking baby loss is. Luckily, a few weeks later we received confirmation that London events were taking it over and it would go ahead. The relief washed over me and gave me new hope and focus. (Then reality hit me- O, I actually have to complete a real marathon. Little me and 26.2 miles. O dear!)

The big day was nearly upon us and the fundraising on just-giving was going amazingly and we had smashed our target. I actually received an email from them saying I was in the top 10% for fundraising that month. I was delighted. Chris and I planned everything for the day: the clothes, the shoes, the gels, the miles, the food- we had a plan. I had also spent hours and hours planning my marathon playlist and which songs I wanted and when. They ranged from nostalgia throughout my life to songs that would keep me going and to songs about each loved one I’d lost along my way (including my mum & dad). I knew that they would keep me motivated and obviously I had several songs which reminded me of our precious Kiara-Star and why I was completing this enormous challenge.

Finally it arrived, we were a mix of emotions and the anxious energy filled me. The sun was shining and it was like everyone was smiling down on me. I could do this. I was ready. We put on our vests with Kiara-Star and Oscar’s Wish on the back. The start line was in front of us and we were off. The first few miles seemed easy and I was full of energy and purpose. Each song really worked its magic and ‘Winter Bear’ was played twice at key points and made me breathe and take it all in. And maybe even ‘enjoy’ the event. We had so much amazing support along the way. There were so many friends and family there to cheer us on and it really helped us on our way.

They say from miles twenty-two you can hit a wall. Luckily, we never hit the wall; we had slowed right down and were walking a lot more but we were here to complete Kiara-Star’s marathon. It was extremely tough towards the end and the energy had gone but we stayed focused and continued. As we saw the finish line, we grabbed each other’s hands and we ran. We ran across the finish line with a time of 5 hours 55 minutes. It wasn’t about the time but we’d beaten our target and we’d completed a marathon in under six hours. A single tear rolled down my cheek, we hugged and I thanked my dear friend for absolutely everything.

We had actually crossed that finish line. I was then reunited with my loving supportive family and there were many cuddles and congratulations. My husband was so so proud and emotional. He had been on this long journey every step of the way including the times when I found training hard. He was there and had been amazing.

What was strange was on the day I had no emotion except the single tear. I thought I would be an emotional wreck. All leading up to it, I had been. It was so odd. Then the next day was the same. In fact, I started to feel quite down and low. I was lost. I researched it and found it was very normal. I suppose as lots of you know emotions are strange unpredictable things especially with huge trauma and you never know how you will be. I then listened to ‘Winter Bear’ again and spoke to our little baby girl and I told her “I ran for you. I actually did it my little one.” Tears flooded and then I understood why I’d felt the emptiness. It was finished; it was done; it was over. All these months had been about her and now that was it. Nothing. I was lost and thought what next?"

Bless you Jayne- I am certain that many of us can identify with these huge emotions. You took on a massive challenge for your precious Kiara and totally smashed it.

We are so proud of you!!!

Sending Love & Support for OWF

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