Running to Overcome Grief with SANDS Lothians

by Ali Wyllie
Run the Sights

Sands Lothians Logo

How do you get over the death of your child?  How does your world start spinning again despite the emptiness and devastation so cruelly inflicted upon you.  Running can often provide comfort and a much needed escape from reality. 

This is exactly where Tracy Watt comes in.  She is the Fundraising Manager for SANDS Lothians – an incredible charity that provides support for families affected by the loss of a baby.

Tracy and Kenny donning the SANDS Lothians vest

Tracy and Kenny donning the SANDS Lothians vest

Tracy herself has been to hell and back with the loss of her beloved son, Lewis Deed, born on 26th April 1991 and left us on 27th April 1991.  Little did Tracy know that her high blood pressure in the last few weeks of her pregnancy  would be the result of her unborn baby;  Lewis, suffering from Spina Bifida and fluid, on his brain.  She was told he would not survive long after birth.   Tracy’s time with Lewis was cut dreadfully short, this was not how it was supposed to be.  Lewis and his older brother Ian, were meant to grow up together, getting up to mischief together. 

Baby Lewis

Baby Lewis

Several years after the passing of Lewis, Tracy found a comfort in running, she began running further and faster and entered races the length and breadth of the country.  She also started volunteering for SANDS Lothians and became a trained befriender.  In her experience, very often grieving families may not want to talk, or even be able to talk, but running brings about a physical and emotional relief.

Tracy with the Oliver Ward shield from SANDS Lothians for her individual fundraising efforts in the 2012 Edinburgh Marathon

Tracy with the Oliver Ward shield from SANDS Lothians for her individual fundraising efforts in the 2012 Edinburgh Marathon

Fast forward a few more years a full time position at SANDS Lothians was opened up specially for Tracy,  as a result of her incredible passion to help those who have endured the most painful of experiences, coupled with her natural charisma - inspiring others to run races in memory of their beloved babies -  and at the same time raising funds for SANDS Lothian.   Whilst she does not FORCE others to run, #TracyMadeMeDoIt is frequently posted on social media, along with a photo of runners with big smiles and rosy cheeks.

Tracy, Gemma & Angela on the Pentland Taster Running Tour

Tracy, Gemma & Angela on the Pentland Taster Running Tour

Tracy joined us on our beautiful Pentland Taster Running Tour, along with Gemma and Angela also from SANDS Lothians.  Knowing the pain and anguish that these ladies have endured, and seeing them bounce along the trails in the hills; with smiles on their faces, highlighted to me the enormous value of SANDS Lothians and how, for some, it is quite literally a lifeline. 

Tracy, Gemma and Angela on the Pentland Taster Running Tour, along with other Run the Sighters Elise, Roisin, Laura and Gina

Tracy, Gemma and Angela on the Pentland Taster Running Tour, along with other Run the Sighters Elise, Roisin, Laura and Gina

I asked Tracy what big things were on the cards for SANDS Lothians and she excitedly told me they are the chosen charity for this year’s inaugural Fort William Running Festival, happening 27th and 28th July.  This is going to be EPIC!

Fort William Running Festival logo

They also have a large amount of runners donning the SANDS Lothians vest at the upcoming Edinburgh Marathon Running Festival  - with plenty of room for more runners - so do look them up and join #TEAMSANDSLothians

We are so proud to have an ongoing collaboration with SANDS Lothians.  If you use the code ‘SANDS’ when booking a tour, you will receive a 10% discount and £2 from this booking will automatically be donated to SANDS Lothians. 

Join us on a running tour using the code ‘SANDS’ at checkout and automatically donate money to SANDS Lothians

Join us on a running tour using the code ‘SANDS’ at checkout and automatically donate money to SANDS Lothians

We have a number of special running tours to tie in with the Edinburgh Marathon Festival weekend in May, check the running tour options out in full here. It would be wonderful if you joined us for the best fun on the run ever. If you want to learn a little bit more about running tours in general, check out a previous blog on the benefits of running tours here.

And guess what - we are delighted that throughout the month of April £2 from ALL bookings for ANY of our running tours will be donated to SANDS Lothians, whether the discount code has been used or not.  As if you need an excuse to join us on a Prosecco Running Tour , Craft Beer Running Tour, or even a lovely reason to gather a group of your friends together and request your own special occasion running tour

Writing the word “run” mid run - as you do!

Writing the word “run” mid run - as you do!

Thank you for reading, if you have been affected by the death of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or soon after birth, SANDS Lothians are there to support you and your family.  You can contact them via e-mail Info@sands-lothians.org.uk or visit them at their Edinburgh centre:  Craighlockhart Centre, 177 Colinton Road, Edinburgh – just remember to take your trainers and put Tracy through her paces. 

DONATE TO SANDS Lothians

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