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Journeys: Healing and finding me. My journey to the Brighton Marathon

This blog is recording my journey to the Brighton marathon with Team Tommys and a host of people around me, not least my employer BCU HELS and the guys from the BCU sport team, when I took part in some fitness testing in the BCU HELS sports lab, doing a VO2 max test this week. 

Juliette Gaunt
Associate Professor, Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences

marathon blog primary

I lost a baby. There it is. Loud and clear. And in print. Not something I can take back. Not something I would ever want to take back having made it public, because that would be equivalent to taking back the very existence of my first born child, Ben. And once you mother a child and carry him from dream to joyful “bump” reality, and into your future plans, you can never nor would you ever, want to take that back.

Not even when that child who was so wanted and loved and nurtured and cared for dies. In utero. Before you had even met them physically on the outside world.

I never got to see the colour of his eyes, but I did hold him. I traced his long body, perfect nose and big hands and feet. I traced them until they were impailed upon my memory for always. Because of course that’s what my new normal would look like. A host of memories that I grabbed; in the lead up to my two blue line positive test and beyond through 42 weeks of pregnancy. Memories. Of a child whom I carried and loved and nurtured.

Lost in labour at 42 weeks, a baby, my baby born with true growth restriction which was undetected, who wasn’t meant for this existence I physically know now. No, he was destined for bigger things. To live out his path making sure that my path was fruitful and fulfilled and successful. And so, that’s what I enable him to do through my memory and my positive outlook and can-do attitude.

Journey to the Brighton Marathon 

This week I took the first step on the road to my goal for 2019; a goal I’ve held for some time and am now in a place where I can realise it. To complete a marathon. 26.2 Miles. Of running. Not walking or stop-starting or saying yes and then not competing. No. Running. All the way.

And so this week, having trained my way to a half marathon distance in the last 8 months in the background, I ran my first competitive 10k. I smashed it. Completing this in 53:09, and coming in 23rd out of 125 adult females was an achievement and a good benchmark for what is to come. Yes there were parts that weren’t pretty; yes in mile 3 I wanted to give up. But I didn’t. Just as I haven’t in the nearly 6 years since Benjamin died in labour. Giving up simply isn’t an option.

Training with BCU Sport

This week was also the week that I started the journey to the Brighton marathon with Team Tommys and a host of people around me, not least my employer BCU HELS and the guys from the BCU sport team, when I took part in some fitness testing in the BCU HELS sports lab, doing a VO2 max test. This test looks at how much oxygen is being taken up by my body during my run, and will be so useful in determining my pace training going forward over the next few weeks. I’m currently running competitively at a pace of 8:38 per mile; road run. I’m pleased with this, and I’ve come a long way from the early days of training when 2kms felt like a mountainous uphill struggle, but I want faster pace. I’d like to hit 8:20 per mile really, with some inevitable deviation on the field. I’ve set my mind to a 2 hours and a half marathon time...... the race is on for that. My next competitive benchmark will be the Birmingham half marathon on the 14th October, when I step out and see how I fare over 13.1 Miles.

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Like every other step taken so far on this journey, every forward progressive step I take now will help me on my journey to Brighton marathon. And that, like my loss journey, will be fraught with highs and lows. But the enduring strength and resilience that pervades all other feelings and dispositions will be ever present. Ben is watching out for me. He’s proud. I’m proud to have carried him. I’m the only one who knows what his heart sounds like on the inside. What a privilege.

Track my progress

If you would like to join me on my marathon journey and track my progress then you can follow my updates here, on this blog.

If you would like to sponsor me, you can follow this link. I’d be so grateful for any donations. All proceeds go directly back to Tommy’s, the charity who research to prevent the incidence of stillbirth and neonatal death. Their work is invaluable. We need to reduce the incidence of stillbirth and draw this topic out from the shadows and into the glistening sunlight. Talking about it doesn’t make me sad; ignoring it really does. Visit my page at https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/JulietteGaunt

Thank you.

Baby loss awareness week 

The 9th until the 15th October 2018 marks international Baby loss awareness week. A time in the annual calendar when more than 60 charities across the UK raise awareness about the key issues affecting those who have experienced pregnancy loss or baby death in the UK.

Throughout the week bereaved parents, their families and friends, unite with each other and others across the world to commemorate the lives of babies who died during pregnancy, at or soon after birth and in infancy.

Now in its 16th year, Baby Loss Awareness Week calls for tangible improvements in research, care and policy around bereavement support and highlights bereavement support and services available for anyone affected by the death of a baby at any stage. Get involved, show your support. Pledge some money. I promise I’ll run harder as a result #BLAW2018. 

baby loss awareness