Running Woman founder, Sarah Gibbs 
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 Mum's in the Know April 2016

We hear from the inspirational mum of 6, Sarah Gibbs, on how running helped her through the most devastating tragedy.

As an incredibly busy mother of 6 with all the stresses of life that go hand in hand, it’s fair to say I had very little “me time”. When the youngest of my bunch finally hit pre-school age, I acquired something which I hadn’t had for the best part of a decade… Some time to myself! Yet for some reason, my life didn’t seem any less manic, in fact, it seemed to be one long count down from drop off to collection. I had to dedicate just a small portion of my days to me for my own sanity. My outlet was running, but to explain why I went for sport rather than some well deserved retail therapy or tea mornings with the other wonderful mums I know, I have to go back about a decade.

Back in late 2003, I was faced with the most devastating tragedy I’ve ever had to overcome (and hopefully it will remain the worst I will ever experience in my lifetime). My beautiful 10 day old baby boy, died suddenly and wholly unexpectedly. From that day on, I suffered from quite severe anxiety / panic attacks. I’d been to see doctors, therapists, hypnotists to try and alleviate the helpless panic these attacks would send me into. In retrospect, one of the most useful pieces of advice I was given was to start doing some exercise to burn off the adrenaline.

Fast forward to 2014, youngest in pre-school, me with some modicum of “spare time” but still suffering from anxiety, I remembered the advice I had been given years before. I found the local women’s running group that some of the mothers had mentioned at school and that’s where it started… Very quickly I began to appreciate that, whether as a group or alone, being out there on the road, with the fresh & often freezing cold air around me, made me feel wonderful. It gave me the head space and time I needed to balance myself out and face the busyness of my parental life.

From my introduction to running less that 2 years ago, I am now an athletics coach for the local running club, a competitor for the seniors’ section, I’ve completed countless 10km’s, 5 half marathons (plus one Tough Mudder) and 1 marathon, with my second planned being London marathon 2016. I feel like a different person to the one I was 2 years ago. I’ve also been fortunate enough to repay some of the kindness shown to me many years prior by the lullaby trust (previously known as The Foundation for the Study of Sudden Infant Death) through sponsorship and charitable donations for a number of the events and challenges I’ve faced. Although this year my chosen charity for the London Marathon will be Asthma Uk.

I feel particularly fortunate that I can now look back 12 years later, on what was a horrific set of circumstances and all the worry it induced with all of my next 3 children, to see 5 healthy beautiful children as a mother with all my faculties intact. I have a number of special people to thank on my journey, my running buddies, Karen & Kathryn and most importantly my wonderfully supportive husband