Superb summer show of support from Hawick to Jedburgh for Chris' home run

Round seven of Chris Laidlaw’s 12-in-12-in-21 charity marathon challenge represented a homecoming for the Scottish Rugby academy coach.

Wednesday, 28th July 2021, 4:43 pm
Updated Thursday, 29th July 2021, 9:36 am
Chris Laidlaw, third left, with his family before the run. From left, uncle Roy, son Struan, wife Alanah, daughter Ivy and brother Scott. It's still to be confirmed but Chris hopes to do his August marathon in Edinburgh and his September run in East Lothian (picture by Bill McBurnie)

Chris, originally of Jedburgh but now living in Edinburgh, is tackling a dozen marathon runs this year to raise money and awareness in support of three charities – Murrayfield Injured Players’ Foundation, Marie Curie and Alzheimer Scotland.

On Saturday, he returned to the Borders for his first run on home turf, from Hawick’s rugby club to Jedburgh’s.

Once again, the 30-year-old was moved by the level of support and appreciation for his late mum Joy and his dad Roy, the former Jed-Forest, Scotland and British and Irish Lions rugby player.

Chris and his friends set off on Mansfield Road in Hawick (picture by Bill McBurnie)

The latter’s diagnosis with Alzheimer’s disease was announced only a few months after Joy’s death last year.

“It’s been full noise. It was incredible in terms of the support and the amount of people who were out,” he said. “We had about 16 people starting in Hawick, which was by far the most we’ve had along any part of the journey so far. Starting at a rugby club and finishing at my home club was pretty special.”

Well-wishers dotted his route through Denholm, Ancrum and Nisbet, while a large crowd, featuring many local organisations and old friends from back home, gathered to welcome Chris at the Riverside finish.

“It was quite overwhelming the amount of people who had given up their time to come out and support. It probably showed to me just how much mum meant to a lot of people, and dad too,” he said.

The entourage is led by Chris' older brother Scott on the path to Jedburgh (picture by Bill McBurnie)

The day’s scorching heat and the fact he’d had less recovery time since the previous race took its toll but Chris reckons over £14,000 was reached on the latest stage.

“It’s incredible. I know the charities will be very grateful, but it’s more than just the money, I think. It's raising awareness of who the charities are and also just remembering mum and supporting dad in what he’s going through as well, and connecting so many different people together.

“I think in the last year, everybody will have gone through some sort of little challenge of their own. That's where people have kind of related to it and they have jumped on board to help out, which has been awesome.”

Members of ladies' jogging group Jed Joggers were among local organisations, friends and family members supporting Chris on parts of his marathon and being there at Riverside at the end (picture by Bill McBurnie)