Friends run London Marathon in memory of loved ones - Women's Running UK

Friends run London Marathon in memory of loved ones

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  April 25, 2016

Sally Newing

Sally Newing, 38, and Tertia Rimell, 37, will be running the Virgin Money London Marathon this weekend in memory of family members and friends, who tragically died in a car accident almost 20 years ago.

Sally’s sister and Tertia’s best friend, Lucy, was just 16 when she was involved in the accident, with friends, Katherine Baines, 17, and her brother, Matthew, 14. The three teenagers were travelling home from a 17th  birthday party when they came into a collision with a young driver on the The Avenue, Bushey, causing the car to roll and crash into a tree, tragically taking the lives of the three teenagers.

The Baines family sadly lost both of their children, and the Cook’s a much-loved daughter and sister. “It was, and still is, horrific for all of us,” says Sally. “We all lived on the same road; it was my mum’s best friend and her children, we all grew up and went to school together.”

Twenty years on, Sally was inspired to do something to remember the lives of Lucy, Matthew and Katherine and fundraise for charity. Choosing running as her outlet, Sally signed up to the London Marathon with her friend, Tertia. Training for the marathon has not only allowed the friends to fundraise for road safety charity, Brake, a charity close to their hearts, but has also brought the pair – and all the families and friends involved –  together again, in celebrating the memory of their loved ones. “It has brought emotions to the forefront, but we’ve got the support of all the families. Jill and Ken (the parents of Katherine and Matthew) are happy that Matthew, Katherine and Lucy are being talked about after so long. It’s brought them back to life again in a positive way.”

Seeing her father take part in the London Marathon two times, Sally has always wanted to take part in the London Marathon. However, it wasn’t until two years ago that she decided to take her first steps into running, inspired by the local run group in her village, UcanJog2. “The running group all wear pink in the village, they’re known as the “Pink Ladies”, and they’re always running around. I thought I need to do something different and just tried it. I approached Debra one day, who runs the group, and she just said come along and I just built it up!”

It was marshalling her run group at the London Marathon last year that inspired Sally’s decision, and she soon approached Tertia with the proposition. Supported by the run group, Sally and Tertia embarked on their training at Christmas, and have since taken part in four half-marathons as part of their fundraising and training. “We got our plan, which Debra really helped us with, and everyone in the group has been so encouraging with us. It’s been a really positive experience.

“We’re both fit and swim regularly, but running is completely different and it’s maintaining it and keeping up your stamina. It’s mentally challenging. We’re very honest with each other, if we think we can’t make a target on that day, we keep the conversation going. We really do support each other.”

Sally Newing Q&A 4

Working as the assistant head of a primary school and mother to twins, Ben and Ellie, fitting in the training has been a tough balancing act for Sally – and also for Tertia – yet the two friends have received invaluable support from their loved ones. “Our husbands and families are very supportive. They’ve taken us away to races, including Brighton and Bath, and we couldn’t do it without them and our children as well.”

With the support of friends, family and colleagues, the pair have raised over £5000 in charity fundraising – an aspect of the challenge which is extremely important to the two ladies. “It’s our way of making a small difference,” explains Sally. “We went up to the Houses Of Parliament with the Brake charity because they had a fundraising event. It was so nice to hear what other people are doing and hear about their stories and journeys.

“Everyone has been really generous and we’re very grateful. The school that I’m at have done some fundraising for me; they did a fun run at school and also a charity disco. We went back to our old secondary school too, where my sister and her friends went to school, and the school has raised £600 for us. That’s been emotional going back and seeing our old teachers and them recalling the accident.”

Sally Newing Q&A 3

For the two women, training and fundraising for the event has been a highly cathartic experience. “So many stories have come to light and it has been such a great experience to joke about old times and re-live those memories. It has been emotional but it has also needed perseverance and to dig deep. It has been very beneficial, physically and mentally.”

With four half-marathons under their belts, and also the CRUK London Winter Run, Sally tells us that while the ladies are “quietly confident”, they realise that Sunday will be hugely challenging – emotionally and physically. “We’re really excited but there’s trepidation at the same time – there’s so many families coming to watch so that’s really exciting – but I do think we’ll be emotional wrecks afterwards!”

If you’d like to support Sally and Tertia with their fundraising and donate to Brake, please visit:

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