Grandad watched me cross Edinburgh Marathon finish line

Emma Whitelaw's grandad hugs her at the finish line
Emma Whitelaw's grandad hugs her at the finish line
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“I remember halfway round the route I got word from my mum that my grandad had made it and he was going to see me over the finish line,” Emma Whitelaw smiles. “That really spurred me on to the end so that I could see him. It was an incredibly special moment that I will never forget.”

This was in the summer, just three months after Emma started to train for what would be her first marathon, a tough one at that, the Edinburgh Marathon full of hills, twists and challenges.

Charlotte O'Neil is running in memory of her father

Charlotte O'Neil is running in memory of her father

But she wasn’t to be fazed and and she raised £1700 for Macmillan Cancer Support after her grandad was diagnosed with the illness.

Despite being seriously ill, he watched her cross the finish line and gave her an emotion-laden hug. A memory to treasure.

Looking back with pride, Emma said: “I would urge anyone still thinking about it to just take the jump and sign up. Running for Macmillan last year was one of the best things I did. The support was amazing all along the route. Before Edinburgh I had never run a marathon before and had not actually done any serious long distance running so I was really jumping into the unknown.”

There’s now less than 100 days to go to this year’s event on May 26 and 27. It’s Scotland’s biggest running festival with seven races on offer including 5k, 10k, team relay, half marathon and full marathon.

Primary teacher Charlotte O’Neil signed up for the full marathon in June for her dad who had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Charlotte’s dad was in the Army and just three weeks after retiring in May last year he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and passed away four months later.

Charlotte, who gave birth to her son last October, said: “My dad was my absolute hero and my best friend. I knew I had to do this for him. From the day he was diagnosed, Macmillan nurses were there for him. Their help and support meant so much to my dad and the whole family. Before he passed away, I told him I was going to run the Edinburgh Marathon for Macmillan – a route he loved and had run many times before.

“He was so pleased for me but I could see in his eyes that deep down he wished he could be running it alongside me.

“He may not be here to join me in his trainers on the start line but I still feel he’ll be running it with me, and I hope I make him proud.”

Since the partnership between EMF and Macmillan begun in 2006, more than £5 million has been raised by nearly 12,000 runners taking part in the city event.

Macmillan senior fundraising manager Pauline Macmillan said: “It is people like Emma and Charlotte who we rely on to help fund the important services we provide. We are really grateful to all those who have signed up to run for us.”

People can find out more at https://www.macmillan.org.uk/