Laidlaw raises £20,000 for charities with one marathon to go in '12 in 12' challenge
On 9 December 2020, Scottish Rugby Academy Coach Chris Laidlaw announced that he would be running 12 marathons in 12 months throughout 2021 to raise money for three charities close to his heart.
Exactly one year on from the announcement, Laidlaw has now completed 11 of his 12 runs and has raised an incredible £20,000 for Marie Curie, Alzheimer Scotland and the Murrayfield Injured Players Foundation.
Laidlaw, son of the former Scotland and British & Irish Lions scrum-half, Roy Laidlaw, completed marathon 11 in his hometown of Jedburgh, poignantly starting off from his family home.
“It was really emotional starting from home, so many people came to the house to see me off”, said Chris.
“It brought back a lot of memories of my Mum (Joy) so I was feeling quite emotional before we set off.
“Generally speaking though, getting back home was awesome, it meant a lot to me to get one more in at Jedburgh before the challenge finishes.”
Despite starting marathon 11 in miserable conditions from the aftermath of Storm Arwen, Chris’ spirits were far from dampened.
“I felt so good during that run. I don’t know why but I felt really strong! I got to 30 kilometres and I was still just feeling really, really good. Without a doubt it’s physically been the strongest I’ve felt for a number of marathons.
“I think I’d maybe got to the point where my body was like, ‘you’re nearly at the end, just do it’ and so I had that extra bit of spring in my step.”
Four other runners completed the full 26 miles (41 kilometres) with Chris, and a handful of others joined in for the last 10 kilometres.
And finally, supporting Chris during his final kilometre were members from the Jed Jaguars, Jed-Forest’s mini rugby section, as they joined in to the cross the finish line at Riverside Park.
Before this challenge Laidlaw had never run a marathon in his life, and now having completed 11 of them there is just one left.
His 12 in 12 quest began at Meggetland on New Year’s Day, so Chris felt it was only fitting to bookend the challenge on Hogmanay, starting and finishing from the same location.
He plans to complete a 10-kilometre circuit through the city of Edinburgh before heading across to Ratho along the Union Canal and back.
Taking a moment to reflect on the last 11 months of running, Chris admits his 12 in 12 ambition was much more challenging than he could have anticipated, saying: “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 am looking forward to the end of the challenge.
“It’ll be nice to take stock and reflect on what I’ve achieved once I finish number 12. 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.
“To now have raised over £20,000 for these three charities is just amazing. I started out with a target of £3,000 and I would have been really chuffed with that, so to have nearly raised 7 times as much is just incredible.
“I cannot thank everyone enough for their generosity, it’s meant the world to me.”
You can offer Chris your support via his Just Giving page: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/12in12in21
And you can keep up to day with Chris’ final marathon on Hogmanay via Twitter: https://twitter.com/laidlaw9