Smiling running woman with picture of london skyline behind her

A London Marathon runner from Matlock decided not to let the cancelled event stop her, and colleagues, from raising over £500 for their local hospice.

Bryony Sibson, 27, won her London Marathon place (her first marathon) in a special Treetops ballot late last year. She was thrilled to be chosen by the charity which provides emotional support and nursing care for adults with life limiting conditions, and their families, living in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.

Bryony is currently on furlough from her work at Mount Cook Adventure Centre. Alongside cancelling a practice run between the Treetops charity shops, she also had to postpone a special event for Treetops younger counselling clients to use the Mount Cook facilities for the day.

But the cancellation of the Marathon due to the Coronavirus pandemic, made Bryony even more determined to support the hospice. When she saw the national 2.6 Challenge initiative, she jumped at the chance to take part:

A fantastic opportunity to raise a little bit more

“I was so disappointed to not be able to continue to fundraise as part of the London Marathon for Treetops. All of the planned activities leading up to the Marathon had to be cancelled and when I saw the 2.6 Challenge, I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to raise a little bit more, as well as send the message that we would keep going by doing what little we can.

“My colleagues at Mount Cook were very keen to join in with the activities and came up with an array of random 2.6/26 mile stunts.”

The challenges included:

  • 26 miles on the bike whilst flipping pancakes
  • 26 flights of stairs
  • 6 miles triathlon around the garden on bike, run, model train
  • 6 miles in a scuba suit
  • 2 miles mini marathon
  • 6 miles around Belper’s landmarks (instead of London)
  • 6 miles uphill (!)
  • 6 miles on a Treetops land-kart
  • 6 mile runs and walks

“My husband Brom’s workplace, the Mitre Group, also became involved and created their own 2.6 Challenge in aid of Treetops. They collectively ran two whole marathons by splitting the miles between them.

Brom ran along in a cardboard box with the London skyline painted on either side

“I donned my Treetops running vest and Brom ran along behind me for 2.6 miles in a cardboard box with the London skyline painted on either side. The idea was to recreate the marathon feeling, and we did get several claps and cheers as we ran through Darley Park. It was great to get outdoors and it felt like the real deal.

“We managed to collectively raise more than £500 for Treetops. I think everyone was of the same mind that the hospice services are more important than ever during a crisis like this and it was well worth doing our bit to support.

Treetops made a huge difference to how the family was able to cope

Treetops is very special to Bryony and her family:

“Treetops helped significantly with my husband’s grandmother during the final stages of her life last year.

“She was one of the most incredible women I had ever met. She always had a saying for everything, made fantastic cakes and had the biggest smile, no matter what.

“Treetops made a huge difference to how the family was able to cope. They provided Hospice at Home nurses to help her through her final weeks and their compassionate service was invaluable.”

The creativity and commitment of everyone involved is amazing

Laura McWha, corporate partnerships fundraiser at Treetops said:

“We were delighted to hear that Bryony and her colleagues chose to do their very own 2.6 Challenge when the London Marathon was postponed.

“We are overwhelmed with how much effort everyone put into their challenges. The creativity and commitment of everyone involved is amazing and we are so pleased it was a success and your hard work paid off.

“We look forward to cheering Bryony on at the main event towards the end of the year – fingers crossed it is safe to go ahead!”

Donations towards Bryony’s fundraising can be made online here.