Running Towards A Big 40th Birthday
In 2018 Kirsty Quigley from Preston started an epic journey little realising that it would result in her planning to run 40 miles for her 40th birthday in August this year, to help raise money for Knife Crime Awareness – In Memory of Colin McGinty
Back in 2018 Kirsty decided it was time to lose some weight and attempt to get fit. She had never been a fitness person or even a runner, but she was determined to give it a go. Her first attempt at running 5k took her 40 minutes and in her own words, “nearly killed her”. But she was a woman on a mission and through hard work and determination she lost four and a half stone.
But the journey didn’t end there. As Boris Johnson stood up to address the nation on 23rd March 2020 to put us all under lockdown restrictions, Kirsty was already working from home in her role for Bower Media as a research and insight assistant and she did not relish the prospect of being stuck at home all day every day. She needed an excuse to get out. So she set about running 5k every day. She stuck to her word and nearly 500 days later she is still out pounding the streets of Preston every day to run 5k, getting her personal best down to just 23 minutes.
As day 100 approached on her running journey Kirsty wanted to challenge herself further and on day 97 she ran a full marathon, lapping Ashton Park in Preston 19 times. Not a bad achievement for someone who still claims to not be a running person.
That still wasn’t enough though and the challenges continued for Kirsty. This year she celebrates her 40th birthday on 17th August and rather than celebrating in style with a champagne filled party with all her friends and family, Kirsty has decided that she would rather run 40 miles in aid of Knife Crime Awareness.
In March 2001, and at the tender age of just 21, Colin McGinty was on his way home from a night out when he was stabbed in a frenzied knife attack that Merseyside Police confirmed as a terrible case of mistaken identity. Despite emergency surgery on 15 separate stab wounds, doctors could not save Colin.
Along her running journey, Kirsty became friends with her colleague Laura Hughes, sister of Colin McGinty. Laura, with her siblings had formed a mixed ability running team in Colin’s memory to help raise awareness of the long-term traumatic effects of knife crime. Every person involved in the running group feels passionately about the cause and the message they want to get through to help deter people from carrying a knife.
Kirsty too is determined to help spread this message and to complete her 40-mile run to help raise funds for Bleed Control Kits. The charity wants to make the kits as readily available as defibrillators to the public so they can be easily accessed in the event of a stabbing.
Bleed Control Kits contain tourniquets, bandages and gels, that could prevent a person from bleeding to death whilst waiting for paramedics to arrive at the scene. This early intervention is crucial for victims with catastrophic injuries can die within 3 minutes of an attack if not treated immediately.
Knife crime across the UK is on the increase and fatal stabbings are such a regular occurrence these days the team fear they are becoming normalised. For every fatal stabbing that occurs, there is a family, just like Colin’s who continue to feel the long-term traumatic effects of losing a loved one in such a senseless and needless way.
I asked Kirsty how she found the time, away from her three children, husband and full-time job, to keep up with her daily running routine, support such a worthy cause and focus on the challenge ahead. “When you want to do something badly enough then you find the time. There are 24 hours in the day and it’s just 30 minutes in that day to run my 5k.”
When asked how she felt about her upcoming 40-mile challenge she said she was, “nervous but excited with the anticipation of completing it”.
Kirsty is keen to let people know that anyone can take up running and set themselves challenges. She was never a fitness or running person but after her weight loss journey she found a new level of determination to give things a go and keep on trying. Now she completes her daily runs with her headphones in listening to motivational audio books to keep her focused on the challenge ahead.
“If I can take up running then anyone can!”
We wish Kirsty all the very best and we’ll be cheering her on from the side-lines.