Scrum effort: Ex-rugby star Chris Laidlaw conquers gruelling marathons challenge

Former rugby star Chris Laidlaw has smashed his fundraising target after completing a12th marathon in as many months in aid of charities close to his heart.

By Jolene Campbell
Saturday, 1st January 2022, 4:55 am

By Friday afternoon, the Scottish Rugby Union(SRU) coach had raised £23,350 – almost double his original £12,000 target.

The 31-year-old, formerly of Jedburgh but now based in Edinburgh, took to the streets of the capital, starting and finishing at the Meggetland home of one of his former clubs, Boroughmuir.

The former Boroughmuir and Scotland club international stand-off took on the challenge of doing monthly marathons to raise funds for the Murrayfield Injured Players’ Foundation, Marie Curie and Alzheimer’s Scotland in memory of his late mother Joy.

Chris Laidlaw, son of the former Scotland and British & Irish Lions scrum-half Roy Laidlaw, runs alongside the Union Canal by his son Struan. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

Laidlaw, now a full-time coach with the Scottish Rugby Academy, picked the foundation and Alzheimer’s Scotland to thank them for the support they’ve given to his father, Borders rugby legend Roy, and Marie Curie to show his gratitude for the support it provided for his late mum during her fight against cancer.

“Going into this, I don’t think I really appreciated the extent running a marathon every month would have on me physically and mentally, so I was looking forward to the end of the challenge,” he said.

"I think because I’ve always been focused on the next one – when am I going to do it, where, what will the route look like – I’ve not had a chance to realise how far I’ve come.”

Watched by wife Alanah, children Struan, three, and one-year-old Ivy, his dad and a host of family and friends from Jed-Forest, Boroughmuir and Dunbar Rugby Clubs, Chris set out from Meggetland on a route which would take him into Edinburgh city centre via the Union Canal.

Alanah Laidlaw joins husband Chris, his dad Roy and kids Ivy and Struan after his final marathon challenge. (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)

He then headed out towards Ratho before retracing his steps and looping back to Meggetland where he was given a rousing welcome.

Chris said: “It was tough today, just over five hours.

“Knowing it was the last one and just really wanting to get to the finish made it emotional and hard.

“The support today, like all the other marathons, has been unbelievable. I don’t think I would have been able to get through it without that support, so to those who ran alongside me, part of the way, or cycled, or just popped up to cheer me on, a huge thank you.”

Among those who ran with Chris on Friday were Scottish Rugby’s welfare manager Stuart Dow, referee Hollie Davidson and Scotland women’s stand-off Helen Nelson j.

Chris added: “There’s a hot tub with my name on it that I’m desperate to get to now.

“Would I do any more marathons? No, not at this stage. Marathons are definitely off the script.

“But what I do take from this is that when you have such a purpose, a higher purpose, to do something, then you can pretty much do anything with the right support network.”

Dad Roy, who could not resist in joining in at stages along the route, said: “I’m proud of him. He’s done really well, and it’s been great to see the support he’s had too.”

If you would like to donate to 12 in 12 you can do so via Chris’s Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/12in12in21

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