Chris finishes first stage of marathon assignment

Part one of the year-long charity marathon quest 12 in 12 in 21 is now complete for Chris Laidlaw.

Friday, 8th January 2021, 12:35 pm
Chris Laidlaw, left, leads his pack of companions in the opening stage of his 12 marathons in 12 months (picture © Craig Watson)

The 30-year-old Borders rugby ace, son of Jed-Forest’s Roy Laidlaw, one of Scotland’s 1984 Grand Slam heroes, is doing a marathon every month this year to gather money in support of three charities with whom he has a personal link.

The venture began on New Year’s Day around Meggetland and Colinton in Edinburgh, with Chris happy to get the first one under his belt and looking towards the next with a fresh sense of drive and intent.

Chris, 30, is a Scotland Club XV international stand-off and captain of Fosroc Super6 side Boroughmuir Bears, as well as being a Scottish Cup winner during his time at Meggetland.

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The charities he’s supporting are the Murrayfield Injured Players’ Foundation, Marie Curie and Alzheimer Scotland.

Icy and slippery conditions on January 1 meant Chris and his long-distance companions, Craig Keddie and Jordan Edmunds, had to divert from their planned route along the Union Canal to main roads. This, said Chris, meant their course was hillier than they’d intended and therefore a greater challenge.

“We did four 10.5k loops on repeat, which was quite tough mentally, because you’re doing the same loop back to back and seeing the same thing four times,” he added. “As it went on, it became harder, physically and mentally.”

Chris said he and his colleagues only had around four week’s planning after he came up with the idea around late November, while they took part in a punishing 30k shortly before Christmas, so he began the 12 in 12 challenge feeling a little under-rehearsed.

“ I like to keep prepared – that’s in my nature,” he said. “When I played rugby, I liked to know I’d done the work.

“I was slightly anxious. I had never done that distance before and I knew how hard the 30K was.

“But I thought I might get an extra kick on the day, with it being the first one, and found some in that last 5k to get me through.”

Chris added: “I was delighted to get through that first one. Nutritionally, I think we learned stuff – we were probably a bit light on hydration and food the last 10k. But I think, definitely in terms of preparation, we just need to keep running, keep fit and keep healthy.

“The current climate with the new lockdown provides extra challenges. But it is what it is – everyone is in the same boat.

“I am excited – I feel I have quite a strong purpose at the moment. I have this to look forward to for the whole year, no matter what. I can run, so I feel quite fortunate.”

February’s route has still to be finalised but Chris indicated it may be up in Fife or down in the Jedburgh area, while he would be accompanied again.

As we reported last week, Chris chose to pursue the project after the death last year of his mum, Joy, and the public announcment that dad Roy was fighting Alzheimer’s Disease.

You can follow his progress at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/12in12in21