When Claire Squires left Greenwich Park in the chill of Sunday morning, surrounded by thousands of fellow London Marathoners, she had a simple aim. She wanted to raise five hundred pounds for The Samaritans. A few hours later, she collapsed and died in Birdcage Walk, just a few miles from the finish. Within 48 hours of her tragic death, donations to her JustGiving page approached a quarter of a million pounds.
Claire was a young woman. I was the same age as her when I ran my first London Marathon in 1984. I still remember the mixture of fear and excitement at the start, and the exhaustion and elation at the finish. I've run many thousands of miles since then, but Claire will never run another step. Her legacy is already remarkable. I hope the donations will continue, and that her family will be given her finishers medal She earned it, and helped more people than she could ever have imagined.
When I take part in the Great North Run in September, I will offer up a silent prayer of thanks for Claire, and others like her, who died raising money for causes they loved. I'm sure many other runners will do the same. Thank you, Claire.