A shining legacy from a tragic day

Danny Coyle

Tuesday, 24 April, 2012
The London Marathon leaves its runners with a choice to make each and every year. The 35,000 who cross the line know in their hearts almost immediately whether they want to run it again next year. Some, in the time-honoured tradition, utter the immortal line, “never again”, and they mean it. Others are so spent with the effort that “never again” is their initial reaction but, as the pain fades and the pride remains, “never again” turns to “I’ll be back.” And the rest are so enthralled, so euphoric with the emotion of a day that has no equal in sport, they have to get another fix. They are hooked. No one can know now what Claire Squires’ decision would have been when she crossed that line. Her moment of decision, her snapshot of personal glory, was snatched away from her in the most tragic of circumstances. Less than 24 hours after the last runner crossed the line she never reached, her fundraising page had leapt from £500 to over £100,000. By late evening on the Monday following the race, the figure was over £160,000, with the best part of 16,000 people having made a pledge to her page.I have little doubt these numbers are of negligible comfort to the family of a young woman who went for a run on Sunday and never came back.The comfort is taken by the rest of us, who by making a donation to the total she has raised can contribute in a small way to the legacy she leaves behind. I’m currently reading John Bryant’s excellent biography of London Marathon founder Chris Brasher. Brasher was the first inductee onto our own list of Running Icons and was fond of the maxim: “A man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?” It’s the ethos this great race was founded on, and it is embodied every year by those who do what they thought impossible. In death, it seems Claire Squires continues to do just that. It would be no surprise if Brasher was the first to greet her in that heaven, and to thank her for following his lead. To donate to Claire's page visit www.justgiving.com/Claire-Squires2

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