Borders charity champion Chris Laidlaw hands over £26,000 he raised by running 12 marathons last year​​​​​​​

Borders charity champion Chris Laidlaw has handed over the £26,000-plus he raised by running a dozen marathons last year to three charities close to his heart.

By Darin Hutson
Thursday, 10th February 2022, 5:42 pm
Updated Friday, 11th February 2022, 11:48 am
Rugby coach Chris Laidlaw handing over a cheque for £8,525 to Alzheimer Scotland's Sarah Cheung at Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium this week (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group/SRU)
Rugby coach Chris Laidlaw handing over a cheque for £8,525 to Alzheimer Scotland's Sarah Cheung at Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium this week (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group/SRU)

The Scottish Rugby Academy coach, formerly of Jedburgh but now living in Edinburgh, took on one of the 26-mile runs each month of 2021 to raise funds to show his gratitude to Alzheimer Scotland, Marie Curie and the Murrayfield Injured Players’ Foundation for the support they’ve given his family over recent years.

The 31-year-old picked the foundation and Alzheimer’s Scotland to thank them for the help they’ve given to his father, Borders rugby legend Roy Laidlaw, 68, and Marie Curie for the care it provided for his late mother Joy during her battle against brain cancer in 2020.

The former Jed-Forest and Scotland club international stand-off’s original fundraising target was £3,000 but he later bumped that up to £12,000 and ended up more than doubling that revised figure after running routes around Edinburgh, Fife, the Lothians and his native Borders.

Chris Laidlaw, centre, giving cheques to Ian Rankin, Stuart Dow, Sarah Cheung and Jim Stewart at Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh (Photo by Craig Williamson/SNS Group/SRU)

He handed over the proceeds of his 12 runs in as many months to charity representatives Jim Stewart, Ian Rankin, Stuart Dow and Sarah Cheung at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield Stadium this week.

“I’m proud firstly of completing the challenge and the amount of money that’s been raised, with a lot of people who came on board to help out,” said Laidlaw.

“There’s also a bit of sadness as well around remembering mum, and that certainly hit home at times during the challenge.

“If I were to do anything charity-related again, I certainly wouldn’t do it over a year as that was tough to prepare for both mentally and physically, but the main takeaway for me is that if you have strength of purpose and the right support network around you, then something pretty special is achievable.”

Rankin, chairman of the foundation, said: “As a player, Chris has seen first hand the work and support our foundation does to assist the rugby community in Scotland.

“It’s truly humbling that he has given so much back throughout last year, and the support he has received from past team-mates and my colleague Stuart Dow, who completed his first marathon on Chris’s final run in December, has also been inspirational.”

Stewart, representing Marie Curie, said: “We could not survive without supporters like Chris making incredible efforts for us.

“It costs £15m a year in Scotland to run our nursing services and we’re only able to do that through amazing supporters like Chris.”

Alzheimer Scotland's Cheung added: “Chris’s 12 marathons have had a huge positive impact for us.

“During the pandemic so many fundraising events across the charity spectrum had to be cancelled, and it’s down to people like Chris that we’ve been able to keep going.”

Laidlaw is currently coaching Scotland’s under-18 rugby team as they prepare for their age-grade Six Nations festival in France this spring.