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1358 %
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Robyn Hadley avatar
Robyn Hadley

In Memory of Skyler James Hadley

running the Bupa Great North Run for National Autistic Society because Skyler had autism and supported the NAS fully.

1358 %
raised of £350 target
by 269 supporters
  • In memory of: Skyler Hadley
  • Event: BUPA Great North Run 2013, 15 Sep 2013

National Autistic Society

We provide support, services and advice to help autistic people and their families

Charity Registration No. 269425


18/09/13 I suppose this is the time I need to put into words the incredible experience that happened on Sunday. After a few minor hickups we got up there mid saturday morning and spent a little time wandering around newcastle.The sun was shining but it wasnt to hot that it was uncomfortable and I had finally sorted out my start time, where I had to be, what I was planning to eat etc. I felt that I would be ble to get to the start line at least. that is until we found out that the tent my boyfriend and I were meant to be staying in had perished and there was no way anyone would be slepping or even erecting that. Despite it being less than 6 months old. The options now was everyone snuggles in close in the caravan or we sleep in the car. Needless to say we snuggled in very very close.

I had made a curry a few days before and along with rice and naan bread we settled down to a cosy meal. I was determined not to eat pasta as I had been advised against it - despite the pasta party we had visited earlier in the day, I was planning on sticking to what I knew and the knowlege of professionals. thankully my family took pity on me and voluteered the "good" bed in the caravan which meant my youger brother was evicted from his bed onto a camp bed on the floor. For which I thank him very very much!! we went to bed early and I was determind to get a long and refreshing sleep but nerves and excitment had other ideas for me and I awake over an hour before I had to be up. 

After resetting the alarm I tried to sleep but instead lay in a cosy half awake half not dream like state until the alarm eventully went. I poked my brother enough to wake him up but not to keep him awake got him off the floor and into my bed so I could start getting ready. Like I said it was cosy!! After making an emergency stop to Morrisons the day before for porridge (the ones I had brought can only be cooked in a microwave-something I had forgotten we dont have in a caravan!) which i began cooking on the stove along with 2 boiled eggs. It is hard to be quiet whilst cooking in a carvan but I think I pulled it off fairly well. My routie was stir, check eggs, drink. I was fixated on making sure I had enough fluids in me before I started running. the actual race starts far before the gun, with all the preparations and rituals you go through before hitting the start line. 

Breakfast eaten, bag double checked and boyfriend coaxed out of bed to drop me at the start line we got to the car. Yesterdays weather was claer and cheery, todays was overcast, chilly and you knew that at any point the heavens will open. Whether that was going to be at mile 2 or mile 12 depended on how fast you ran and whether youd remembered to rub vaseline everywhere. Strangly eneough it was mentioned to me, by a team mate on the start line that he was aiming for around a 2 hour run. But he could gaurentee it would be sub 2 hours if the rain started as he wasn't prepared to lose his nipples.

After checking in bags, numerous toilet runs and a few phots with celebrities I was finally on the start line with the rest of Team North jumping around in order to look athletic but really just to release some of the built up excitment that had occured over the past week. Finally after waitig at the start line for over an hour the seconds were closer and closer to 10:40-our official start time. and just to keep us all on our tose they were 3 minutes late! But we were off, and in what seemed like moment there were thousansds of people all around me in a array of colours and neon running at a pace I would have thought impoassible to kep up for 13.1 miles.

At this point I would like a small moan, if you don't want to hear about it skip onto the next paragrah and your angelic illusion of me(which is mostly true) will still be intact. I was prepared for the sweats, the weather, the "WALL" the men peeing in the street, the water bottle ready to trip you up and I wouldnt say prepared but I was expecting to be emotional. What I wasn't expecting was the barging, elbowing tripping up and general boistriousness that was coming from the runner behind me. In Zone A where I was was basically celebrities who don't want to be caught in a crowd of 56,000 people all trying to get their autograph and a few club runners. But in Zone B are all the men women and what seemed like animals/warriors that were determined to get to the finish line in the quickest time possible or something dreadful was clearly going to happen to them. I understand competition and if you speak to any of my family they will openly tell you that I am the most competitve person they know and whether it is SNAP or finishing my dinner first I have to win. But this was a level of extreme that I had not come across before, people were elbowing and pushing their way through just to get a good time, and there must have only been about 50 people infront of them anyway so it really would have cleared very quickly but these people were armed with come kind of in built atom bomb that was going to explode unless they got to the finish line before, say, Mo Farrah.


Ok Moan over, back to amazing experience. So the race had started I had worked out the pace I needed to be to complete a 2:15 race time and I was prepared to be disaplined enough to stick to it. I had my water and knew most of the drinks stations and my family was waiting at mile 8 with cuddles, cameras and more importantly Jelly Babies! The first 4 miles went fairly quickly athough I wasnt prepared for the elevation of the course. The biggest hill in my home town takes maybe 4 minutes to get up and on the GNR course we were gradually climbing solidly for around 10 minutes, something neither my legs or head was used to. But we kept going knowing that I had run 11 miles so there was no need to stop until I at least got to that point.

Crossing the half way mark was great, there was a big telly up saying HALF WAY and knowing that whatever steps you took from that point on you were closer and closer to family, home and towels, becasue by this point it was Pouring. I dont thinkraining even really covers it. It was just continual water on my head in one long cold run as if my head was underneath a tap. My spirits weren;t dampened(excuse the pun) and I held my ipod close to save something from the rain and the tunes just kept coming. Before we set off I saw someone wearinf sunglasses, this isnt for fear of sunglare, it turns out it was to protect her eyes from the rain. I had never really thought of this as a problem becasue I simply did not run in the rain. I ran when it wasnt raining. Tha was sensible. The only time I did run it the rain I was caught in a full on thunderstorm and I had refused to ever put my trainers on again, therfore I would only run in the sun, or at least grey. But what I hadn't learnt was that as you run you sweat(duh) but when the rain moves the sweat down your face and into your eyes, it really really hurts! the sting is very similar to that of squirting lemons into your eyes. Neither of which I encourage. Along with running, keeping my pace, battling the crowds, incline and untided shoeslaces(sorted at mile 7) I was also battling partial blindness due to the force and the consequences of the rain! 

I was not to be put off because i text my boyfriend, half way there!!! And the texts of support I recieved back were incredible! I really could not have made it without those texts because they keep you sane, let you know your not alone and let you know that really this isn't that bigger deal. They kept me grounded until the finish line, when I could really celebreate. I'd grabbed a few jelly babies from spectators and some orange chunks! but the best thing was running to mile 8-see my mum break through that barrier and meet me mid-air in tears, with a massive hug. in the brief seconds we were together (I had a time to stick to) she sent all the messages of support I had recieved in the weeks leading upto the run through her body and translated them into a cuddle. she then stuffed a load of jelly babies into my hand told me how much she loved me and how proud she was and sent me on my way, I had enough time to kiss and hug my boyfriend before I was back out in the rain with all the other runners but with a new found push to get to the line. My family knew I could do it and they had travelled over 400 miles to make sure I did.

Mile 9 went quite quickly riding off the high of seeing my family, mile ten I knew there wasn't long to go and I had a text saying my dad was at the 400m mark. I was on time to complete my target time and I was feeling ok. Mile 10 things started to hurt and I realised my phone battery was dying fast. I either had no pace maker and just music or I risked it to see how far I could go with both and risked not being able to get to my family afterwards. I risked it. and at mile 11.5 the whole thing died.

For anyone who has been reading these posts, and I sincerly hope someone has, but you will know that I hate runnign without music, simply for the fact that it blocks out the sound of a hyperventilating hippo trudging along the pavement. so went my musc ran out not only did I have no tracker to keep me on target, I had no music to block me out! I was sure I would stop becasue I would think I was doing badly and struggling, simply by the way I sounded. Actually I was pleasently surprised to find out that the people around me sounded a help of a lot worse and that I didn't sound like an clostraphobic astmatic but simply like I had controlled my breathing so I was getting enough, but not to deep, oxygen and that I was going to be ablt to do this. It was refershing I was suddenly hearing all the calls of 'Go Robyn' that I had missed for the past 10 miles becasue I had my headphone on. it was brillitant. at Mile 11 I knew this was going to be completed and whether whitin my time of not it was an incredible experience. 

I felt my pace had been steady and that I hadn't overtaken to many people and then dropped back but equally I didnt feel like I was constantly being over taken.

Then at mile 12 we had problems. I had no music not pace tracker and every step felt that I was treading on pins on the soles of my feet. i can only imagine that this is what jumping on 1000 nails feelsl like over and over again. I don't ever remember having this feeling before and I am still not to sure why it happened. Possibly the wet, possibly not being used to the distance, I know that on the next one I will invest in more padded shoes. I will also make sure I do the longer distances through training so I am used to being on my feet for longer and hopefully that should ilimate what felt like an acient chinease method of torture! heading up to the 12 mile point was al up hill, not in a hands on your kees and push kind of way, but simply continual never ending climbing so you were always slightly bent forward looking for the summit. 

Seeing the 12 mile marker was heaven and the sudden realisastion of what I had done suddenly dawned on me. I had run 12 miles. I only neededt o complete 1.1 more and then that was it-technically I could never run again if I didnt want to! that last mile people had told me was the longest mile, and I suppose that makes sense in a way as you are thinking about the finish and who you are going to see and what you have worked for so it could seem like the longest mile. But this was Literally the longest mile EVER!!!! it was flat long and if I had had my distance tracker I would have said it was further than a mile. people lined the streets cheering and shouting which was amazing and as I got towards 400m I knew that somewhere my dad and sister were watching me-although i did nt spot them and then as if from no where my legs just pushed and pushed until I was practically sprinting towards the finish line. Just when I thought I was there and saw the massive blue sign the race organisers crushed my hopes a little and took up right so the finish felt somewhat like an optical illusion!! But I sprinted to the line put in all my efforts and made absolutely sure I did not trip over.

All sorts of emotions came over me, relief, exhausting, tiredness, elation, and extreme sadness. "thank goodness its over, blimey im tired, I can't belief I've done that and I hope he's proud. I hope he can see what I have done. I hope that this makes a difference to other peoples lives, even though no amount of money can restore his."

I have always tried to be honest and I suppose this is one of the most honest things I have written. The fact people from across the UK have been touched by my story is incredible and as I have said before I wish I could thank everyone individually. But I do believe there is a come down to these events. Obviously I was sore and tired the next day and today I am still struggling a little but most of all over the past few days I have been questioning myself and the relationship I had with Sky. mainly, would he have understand what I have done and would he be proud? Was he ever proud of me or was I just his little sister that was to bosy and could be a pain in the bum. Has the press releases been about me rather than him? can he see me now is he in peace?

I support the national Autistic Society fully and am happy not only to donate the money but also for them to do with it as they see fit but as the people left behind I do have this very strong feeling that this money will help many many others, but for me I have still had a loss and I am still grieving, and unfortunately no amount of money will bring him back. I must look at it in the sense that this money is not only going to a worthy cause, but also one which Skyler supported and recieved help from himself. I would like to hope that he can apprecieate the achievement of raising this money and I would like to him that Skylers story can help buck the trend not only of the Stogma attached to Autism and disability but also to those children who think they cannot ever be something adn someone. What they need to know and accept is that everyone is someone and you dont need to Be anything expect yourself. Skyler taught me this with his dress sense, his humour, his haircuts, his approach to life He refused to let his Autism and Aspergers take over his life and he refused to be held back, for him that just was not an option.

I suppose I feel a little lost. for the past few months I have been training, organising cream teas and duks races and fundraising as much as I can. I am scared that now the Great North Run is over, somehow I now need to start dealing with his death. It has been very easy to keep him alive in my head when I was running and doing this for him becasue it was almost as if he was in Bristol but I am just fundraising for him here. Now the run is over, it bring the limelight back on the fact that he is no longer here.

If I can hope for anything with this money it is that other people with Autism are inspired by him. That they know their lift isn't limited because of how their brain is wired but simply expanded to allow a new life that those without Autism can't imagine, and just becasue we don't see it their way, does not mean it is wrong. Skyler would see the world in a way that I could not imagine, but often it was better and kinder than how I saw things.

Please if you read this article I'm not going to nag you to donate because the money raised is already so incredible. But I will ask you for one thing. Allow yourself, your child, sister, brother, parent, friend, collegue the chance to teach you something. Don't accept the labell autism and prevent life allow your lives to expand because of autism and make sure you embrace you as who you are before your Autism comes into conversation. Make sure you grasp every oppotunity and fufill every dream, because you dont know the impact you may have on other or when it will be over.   

My time 2:09:29-thankyou for all your support

13/09/13 so today is my birthday and I have turned 21! What a day full of mixed emotions. It is strange not having a phone call from Bristol singing happy birthday to me down the phone, equally strange not having a birthday card with hand writing all over the place but always a heart felt message. I feel like there is a battle within myself-partly the joy of turning 21 wanting to celebrate and be spoilt all day, and also the realisation that a virtual part of your life is missing. Due to our busy family life we opened presents last night and my family completely surprised me with amazing gifts. My wonderful boyfriend brought mE a beautiful traditional bicycle with a wicker basket, something I had wanted for nearing 10 years. My parents gave me voucher to buy a watch and they are going to have it engraved as a timeless gift! Grandparents and aunts brought me beautiful jewellery that I will treasure and Caroline brought me the most beautiful necklace with my name on and it truly felt like it came from both her and skyler. I have been thoroughly spoilt-and am truly blessed to have an amazingly supportive family. 

I would like to that everyone who has taken the time to read my story and donate to my cause. Yesterday was completely overwhelming as I started the day on £1157 and this morning I woke to being over £3000, easily the most humbling birthday present. I cannot put into words how grateful I am to people who have donated. I lost my job in April and I am still struggling to find work so I am fully aware of the difficulties that people are facing financially and every single donation goes towards helping people across the uk. So many people have left me kind and encouraging messages which i am personally reading and they will all encourage me throughout every mile. My aim was to get to £700 and I'm staggered that we have blown that completely out the water-out the country! So if I could personally thank all of you I would!!! 

As I prepare for Sunday I will be thinking of everyone'sincredible support and how much I want to make you and especially skyler proud. 

I may not get chance to write before the race as I travel to newcastle today but I will cetianally post to let everyone know about the race! 

Thank you all


21/08/13 the most sureal things have happened to me on this training journey. Regularly I am jumpped up at by dogs or have to make some dare devil move to aviod cars or other motorists on the road but today can officially be called EPIC. 

I recieved the phone call last week confirming my place as a VIP runner. I had entered a compitition with Justtextgiving to be part of Team Mel to go head to head against the south to see who is more charitable. Team Mel is short for Team Melanie, as in Mel C, as in Sporty Spice, as in A SPICE GIRL!!!!!!!!

Being a girl born in th 90's this is hardly an oppotunity I could pass up on so yesterday we packed our bags, travelled to newcastle and this morning headed to the stadium. The nerves of meeting someone I had been obsessed with in my childhood were to much to cope with and I had been checking the time since around 6am. When we arrived and met with the rest of the team, it was amazing to see how many middle aged men also knew every word to "if you wanna be my lover!"

Changed, ready and waiting, she appeared, and she was lovely!!! So down to earth, friendly and normal!! we headed onto the track to warm up as the day was their to help us prepare for the run, avoid injury and help us fundraise. 

Starting with interval training we spent the fist 10 mins getting our heart rate up, jogging, burpies and jumps soon had all of us sweating! The strangest thing was that there was a man taking photos of us the whole time! This wouldnt be a problem if we were just posing and chatting but with ever 40 seconds we redder and redder. The photos we were all planning on using for fundraising were going to consist of us sweating!!! 

Interval training over we paired up, this was my oppotunity. Nervously I approached Mel, excersice band clasped in my hand and asked if she would be my partner. Beaming up at Mel was a woman I had admired and followed for over 15years and here she was standing next to me, ready to be my partner! 

We chatted about training and the times we were aiming for, mine syb 2:15 hers sub 2hrs. About why I was running I explained about Skyler and the National Autistic Society and she told me about shelter, the homeless charity. This was all whilst we were squatting, lungeing, planking and completing neumerous press ups. It is incredible the motivation you have to keep going when a Spice girl is partnered with you! her fittness was incredible!! 

Finally was completed the training, pictures and press and headed inside for a shower and some FOOD!!! we were given lectures on nutrition, fundraising and advice on how to stay injury free for the race! I was a incredibly well organised day and great fun, some people say never meet your idols but Mel C was incredible and lovely, she was everything and more that I had imagined!

It is a very strange feeling knowing that you have met someone you inspired becasue you lost someone you loved and respected. Knowing that one could not have happened without the other. The idea is to raise more money for the charity and this is a fantastic way to do it.

Outside of training I am still organising my Cream Tea and Duck Race on the 8th September and on Saturday 17th there was a Race Night at the Village hall where we raised £120, which was expertly organised by Claire Bell. 


Today I will be visiting old work friends and selling them yummy cakes for elevensees!

06/08/13 well last night was my longest run ever! I completed 10 miles in less than 2 hours I think! I say I think because as I left the house it started to rain, but mile 1 it was pouring so hard it felt like I was running in a swimming pool. Mum was dropping a new drink for me at the 5 mile point and when she drove past at mile 2 she asked if I was going to keep going-I was determined to complete the distance and said so. However my phone, which I use to track all my runs, was suffering in the rain so I handed to mum to keep in the dry. 

Some people don't understand why people run with headphones, common moans I hear are, the runners aren’t experiencing the full scenery if they have music blasting or it's unsafe to run with music. The first is complete claptrap. You can experience your surrounding the fresh air and the scenery with your eyes and feel the wind on your face with or without headphones. Just because my ears are covered doesn't mean I cannot see. Also to get up any sort of mileage, very rarely, do I get to run off road. It just isn't long enough to run around the river, so I have to pound the pavements following the roads in, out and around woodham. All I am going to hear without my headphones is cars and it’s bad enough each gulp of air I take in has exhaust fumes mixed in anyway. 

The second point "it's not safe" can be valid. I wouldn't cycle with headphones, why do I run. You can get round this by turning down the music so it is mixed with the sounds of cars and just making sure when you cross the roads you look both ways (obviously). But the main reason I run with headphones is simply because if I have to listen to the sound of an asthmatic hippo for 2 miles I will never make 5 miles let alone 13.1. Music covers up the noise of your own breathing, from the gazelle like runners that bound past you up the hill that you are crawling up, like they are some sort of super human, to the other chesty hippos thudding along beside you. I work on the basis that if I cannot hear myself then I can't be that bad and I can easily make the miles. There is no need for me not to.

Yesterday was different. I had driven the route before I came home, checked the mileage and my finish line was the red post box on Broughton Road. At 2 miles i'm sodden, my socks are squelching and things are beginning to chaff. Then my music is taken away. No more Plan B, Spice girls or Britney (classic) to get me up those hills or to the check point. I was faced with the task of running the next 8 miles. Solo.

Anyone who knows me knows I have a very short attention span, films and TV programmes have to be an hour MAX or I loose interest, in fact Grant will tell you when we regularly go to the cinema, as soon as he hears and popping noise from my mouth, I am incredibly bored and looking for another interest-like chucking popcorn in the air and catching it in my mouth. So when I run the music provides some entertainment and keeps me distracted from the pounding in whichever part of my body would like to hurt this time.

5 miles I reached no problem, mile 6 came and was fairly down hill and I was preoccupied with dodging cars round the winding roads. The rain was easing but I still had 4 miles to go and was incredibly wet, which in turn. Lead to me feeling very heavy. Mile 7 I needed a boost, I was looking for a toilet, and I was wet and desperate to get to that post box. I walked and ran walked and ran until I got to 8.5 miles, which I promised I would keep running to the end, as long as my feet kept moving I could do this. No music, no pace tracker and no cheerful texts coming through from the family I was completely alone in a storm. My legs felt like they were taking me as my body just moved along with them, being dragged by their constant thudding on the pavement. I had to focus to not trip over I would not be beaten on the last mile.

9 miles down, keep moving, stick to the course and you will make it. Count the roads only 4 to pass till I get to the post box, one down, two down, dodge the dog poo, remove the wedgy, keep pushing those knees, and keep stretching out those legs, long stride. You can see the post box, 1 road to go. Stretch Stretch Stretch. Like an inner coach forcing me to touch that box.

I had never been happier to see a post box. The rain had stopped, and I had made it 10 miles in less than 2 hours. If I can run 10 I know I can run 13.1. 6 weeks to go and this is feeling very real, very close and very achievable. I feel like it will be a challenge and I feel I can take that challenge on.

I'm learning things about my body that I didn’t think possible, if you had told me 3 months ago I would have run 10miles I would have laughed and helped myself to another chocolate bar. Now I understand food, what I need to eat before and after my run, what training drinks work and what’s just a scheme. How I can tailor my runs to my body. My power is not only in my legs but my arms are stronger and my determination is unstoppable. This will be done and I will honour my brother, I can only pray that he helps me and gives me better weather because rain is not comfortable.

I want to thank everyone who has donated so far, especially as your generosity continuous, it shows me just how many supporters and family we have out there, and of course how loved we all are. Knowing people have placed good money for me to do this is a key motivator when running in a thunderstorm.


I am determined not to let anyone down! 


30/07/13 I have been training for some while now and can comefortably run 6 miles- almost half way! Although I have another 7 miles to go and just under 50 days left. I was fired up last week for a 5 mile run and felt really strong when I tripped on a rock and cut open my knees and elbows. It has meant I couldn't run this weekend and I am about to go and attempt a tentative 4 mile run-away from any rocks to trip me over. 

We have started planning for the Afternoon Tea on the 8th September to raise even more money and that is getting exciting trying to see it all come together!

I have learnt so much so far, what to eat before/after, what to drink on a run, how to stay cool and cope with the heat and how to manage the thought that you are going to cough up your lungs!!

My family have been great and my boyfriend Grant, is continually driving around so we can clock up miles and new routes on the car! Even though I slip off the wagon sometimes with my training I try and run at least 3 times a week-although I need to be more vigalant with my long run on a sunday because sailing and BBQ (and cider) are a very temping off rather than pounding the pavements for 2 hours. 

I am aiming for 2 hours 15mins and for me I think that is a very respectable time, slightly over 10 minute miles but that can account for nerves, heat and just enjoying the experience. I still have no idea what I will be wearing and although I am not dressing up I do plan to wear something to stand out so people can shout at me when I look knackered!!!

Right enough of the blogging, I cant avaoid it any longer it is 9:09:28(exactly) and I need to run 4 miles before I am allowed to collapse in my bed/infront of the telly which ever come first!

I will keep you posted!!





Hi, thanks for coming to see my page!! 

This page has been set up in the memory of a great man Skyler James Hadley who died to soon in a motorcycle accident. Skyler was high functioning autistic and had Asperger's syndrome and he found life challenging and difficult at times-but that never stopped him loving and living life to the full.

Son to Liesl and William and brother to Robyn, Warwick and Tierney-Rose he was an integral part of the family and a huge loss on our lives. Most importantly despite his difficulties Skyler found love with Caroline his partner and spent over two years together going to festivals, visiting doctor who and Harry potter exhibitions but most importantly diving. The passion and natural talent Skyler had for scuba diving was immense and it was here he met Caroline.

In April 2013 Skyler ran the London Marathon and at mile 22 he looked like he had just gone for a jog in the park-the same cannot be said for the next day. He competed the run in an incredible 5.22 hours and was due to run the Great North Run in September. Caroline has asked Robyn to run in his memory and she has been training ever since.

On this page you can track her progress and watch the rise and falls of training-oh and also help raise money for the National Autistic Society, who was a great help for Skyler and his parents whilst growing up and facing the daily challenges of living with Autism.

so please, drop in, read the blog and donate for those still struggling today.

Thanks for taking the time to visit my JustGiving page.

Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity. So it’s the most efficient way to donate – saving time and cutting costs for the charity. Please remeber to click Gift Aid it is so important to get 20% more money for the charity.

So please dig deep and donate now.


  • Skyler Hadley at the London Marathon April 2013 +3