Home-town hero continues challenge
5 August 2021
Scottish Rugby Academy coach, Chris Laidlaw returned to his home town of Jedburgh to complete the latest leg of his 12 in 12 marathon challenge.
Starting in January, Laidlaw has been running a marathon each month raising funds to thank three charities which mean a lot to him - the Murrayfield Injured Players Foundation; Marie Curie; and Alzheimer’s Scotland.
Marathon seven marked his first run on home turf, journeying from Hawick’s rugby club at Mansfield Park to Jedforest's ground at Riverside Park in little over four and a half hours.
“The route was brilliant!”, said Laidlaw. “I was a little bit concerned about the hills, but they weren’t too steep in the end and there were lots of nice rolling hills to enjoy, plus it had a good mix of trail and road running.
“I had 16 people join me for the first leg of the run, which is by far the most support I’ve had. My brother Scott also joined me, cycling the full marathon. That’s the first time a member of my immediate family has been able to join me, so that was really special.
“I knew going into the day it was going to be emotional just with being at home, surrounded by close family and friends. Keeping the emotions at bay was hard, but I think the most difficult thing about it in the end was the heat, man, it was hot!”
Laidlaw’s homecoming saw the local community turn out in their masses, and Chris added just how moved he was by the amount of support and appreciation shown on the day for his late mum Joy and his dad Roy, the former Scotland and British and Irish Lions rugby player.
He said: “The whole experience of marathon seven was quite overwhelming actually. To see so many people come out and support me across the route, it was so unexpected, but it was brilliant.
“My dad, Alanah (Chris’ wife) and my kids Struan and Ivy came to a few of the stop points to cheer me on too and that meant the world.
“As we were running into the Jed’ rugby club for the finish, there were so many people stood on the pitch cheering and that really hit me. I think it just showed just how much mum was thought of and remembered, and how well-respected dad is in the town.”
From both physical and online donations, Laidlaw is now fast approaching £14,000 in funds raised for his chosen charities, a target which has been generously boosted by activity in the Borders.
“Loads of people have jumped on board to support the fundraising side of things. We’ve raised another £2,000 in about three weeks. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped.
“A local baker ran a raffle which raised over £300, Jed Joggers a local running club in the town organised fundraising buckets at a couple of the stops and a few of them joined me on the route too which was awesome.
“There was also a group of walkers named the Old Strollers who completed the length of St.Cuthberts Way (100 kilometres) in under 24 hours on the Friday into Saturday morning in support of my challenge.”
Looking to add to Chris’ fundraising effort is his brother Clark, who is now also embarking on his own 12 in 12 challenge, cycling 12 marathons in 12 days on a Watt-bike.
Clark, who is the Head Coach of the New Zealand sevens squad. has recently returned from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games fetching a silver medal with the Kiwi outfit, and is now in hotel isolation. Having been supplied with a static bike, there was no better time for him to take up his own challenge and support his brother!
You can find out more about 12 in 12 and donate to support the Laidlaw brothers via Just Giving: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/12in12in21