Marathon effort by siblings
After the Boston Marathon bombing, Claire de Ste Croix thought she’d never run another big race.
She crossed the finish line only minutes before the 2013 explosion that killed three and injured hundreds along the route.
In 2017, however, the 53-year-old found a good reason to hit the pavement again — her brother, James Tomkinson.
“Last year, he was lying almost comatose on his couch. He’d really hurt his back and wasn’t feeling great. He called me and said he was watching the London Marathon.
“He was saying he would never be able to do that.”
Mr Tomkinson, who lives in Cornwall, England, had never run a marathon. Despite her trauma, Mrs de Ste Croix suggested they do one together.
“We motivated each other and made a pact to do it,” she said of the Virgin Money London Marathon that takes place on April 22.
“We thought that it would be super cool to run it together.”
Their thought was the race could also be a way of celebrating Mr Tomkinson’s 50th birthday on March 30.
“He’s done really well with his training for this,” said Mrs de Ste Croix, a triathlete who swims, runs and cycles every day.
She thought her previous experience in Boston would probably be in the back of her mind but vowed not to let it scare her off.
“I was the next street over collecting my bags,” she recalled.
“It was a surreal moment. It was traumatic. I kept thinking it could have been myself or any number of our friends.”
The siblings will be part of a team of six running to raise funds for the Donkey Sanctuary in Sidmouth, Devon. The charity shelters elderly, homeless and abused donkeys and mules and also helps donkeys around the world.
“When we were children, our mother Beryl rescued our first donkey, Brandy, from a meat market,” Mrs de Ste Croix said.
“After feeling sorry for her in a bedraggled state with her sad eyes, the donkey was squeezed into the back of our Land Rover and taken home.”
Brandy was later found to be pregnant and the family welcomed little George a few months later.
“Unfortunately, they ate poisonous plants,” Mrs de Ste Croix said. “The Donkey Sanctuary were called in to help but after trying everything they could, Brandy and George passed away.
“The sanctuary went above and beyond the call of duty in their efforts and they couldn’t have done any more to help.”
They have raised Ł4,200 for the charity, so far.
Louise Jones of the Donkey Sanctuary said: “Claire’s story is truly inspirational and we are so grateful to her and James for supporting us.
“Without the support of dedicated fundraisers like this we would not be able to continue our vital work to help donkeys around the world to live a life free of suffering.”
•For more information see http://bit.ly/2GU3JKI; or visit thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk
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