On April 26th, we will be running the London marathon in the attempt to collectively raise money for YHA scheme ‘Break for kids’ . Our minimum target is £3000, but we sincerely hope that we can achieve a figure well above this. Alongside Robert Kenyon, whom is running independently for a separate charity (www.virginmoneygiving.com/RobKenyon1), we are heavily inspired and motivated to take part in the event by our amazing friend Aelita Gontar, whom completed the event in 2014 under extremely bittersweet circumstances.
Aelita was the fiancee of our dear friend, Andrew Baker. In July 2013 Andrew unexpectedly collapsed whist doing a training run for the 2014 London Marathon. Shortly afterwards, Andrew tragically passed away due to cardiac complications. After deciding to move back to her original home in Canada, Aelita returned and ran the marathon in Andrew’s place. Below are some of Aelita’s words leading up to last year’s event:
Last year we lost an incredible husband-to-be, son, brother, nephew, best friend and a colleague. He touched so many lives and brought many people together. He is now shining down on us from the night sky. I have never ran a marathon nor have I had the desire to. It was Andrew's dream not mine. But my heart breaks to know that his dream will never come true unless I run it for him. I was offered to take his spot and I couldn't say no. In fact, I got emotionally excited. I know that he will be with me every step of the way (telling me to go faster!) I will be running for YHA Breaks for Kids because that was the charity Andrew chose and I would like to raise money in his memory. It's a fantastic cause and I'm very proud to be part of their team. Breaks for Kids is a charitable fund that YHA operates to help children from financially disadvantaged backgrounds take part in a school or community group break away giving them life-enhancing experiences through adventurous educational stays. It offers education outside of the classroom and promotes personal and team/social development and environmental awareness through exciting activities and challenges. Every child should have the chance to enjoy some time away – to make friends, to grow in confidence, to increase self- awareness and to feel engaged and involved.
Our individual motivations and sentiment echo Aelita’s words on both a practical and emotional level. Aelita is an incredible woman and probably does not realise just how much she inspired each one of us. We wish to continue the tremendous efforts that Andrew initiated and Aelita achieved. For us, this will simply be a continuation of ‘Andrew’s Dream,’ and to further support the Breaks for kids initiative. So, we are doing ‘Andrew’s run’: For the YHA. Inspired by Aelita. In memory of Andrew.
Our hearts shattered when Andrew left us. We miss him immensely but aim to do him proud. x