Grieving parents say London Marathon was a day of ‘kindness’

A couple who ran the London Marathon in memory of their daughter who died less than 10 months ago said the whole event was about ‘kindness’ for them.

Claire Nash and her husband Wayne Flanagan, both 34, crossed the finish line together wearing peacock-themed outfits, as it was their daughter Jade’s nickname and middle name that didn’t lived only 10 days.

The couple from Lewisham, south-east London, both tested positive for Covid when Jade was born in January about six weeks before her due date.

They said the marathon training and running was a “powerful” and “very emotional” event with a mixture of feelings that helped them mourn and support the charities that took care of Jade – the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, the Evelina Children’s Hospital and Demelza Children’s Hospice.

Mr Flanagan said that “without a doubt the whole day was spent in kindness”, adding: “Everyone we turned to, runners who were next to us or people on the street cheering us on and shouting “peacock”.

“They were screaming ‘do it for baby Jade’ or her name.

“We were literally in tears for some parts – and tears and racing don’t really go together.”

He added that “we knew it was going to hurt” somewhere on an emotional level, but it was also a chance to talk about and remember their daughter.

Jade at Demelza Hospice, Eltham, South East London, with her parents and brother Elijah (PA)

Jade Nash’s heart stopped when she was born on January 9 at Lewisham University Hospital and, although staff were successful in resuscitating her, she died on January 19 at Demelza Hospice, Eltham , near.

Named after the midwife who gave birth to her, Jade also spent eight days at Evelina London Children’s Hospital.

The couple, who have five-year-old son Elijah, are extremely grateful to the doctors and caregivers who cared for the whole family after Jade died.

Ms Nash said: “Today it was about Jade and Elijah and we also wanted to let people know that these people are amazing humans and that in our darkest hours they were there for us. We have never felt anything but love, support and kindness from them.

“They were obviously facing a difficult time themselves, but it didn’t happen once.

“They were always putting or needs and Jade first. I hope we conveyed that (gratitude) today.

She added that the crowds along the course “pretty much constantly cheered us on and were phenomenal – I’ve never experienced anything like this.”

Mr Flanagan said he felt “everywhere” on the eve of the marathon, but said as soon as he started running he found “his happy place”.

He added: “I know this is not all over for us and there will be things to do in the future, but it has been such an important and important goal for us over such an extended period of time that we just want to stay in the moment and enjoy what we’ve been through.

“The volunteers, the strangers, our friends on the course for us, our family and the kindness of the London Marathon (organizers) themselves – during that time they all made such small gestures that made a huge difference. with what we are feeling now.

“Everything has been amazing and my brain is overloaded by the minute and it can take a while to come back down.”

Virgin Money London Marathon 2021
Runners crossing Tower Bridge during the London Marathon (Joe Toth / Virgin Money London Marathon / PA)

Some of the landmarks along the 26.2-mile London Marathon route where they’ve been moved include Tower Bridge, as that’s where they returned home from Evelina Hospital.

Mr Flanagan said the exercise had helped him through the last difficult months and he would “do whatever I can to keep running”.

He has run the London, Brighton and Berlin Marathons before, but it was Ms Nash’s first in that distance.

They think they were done in about 6 hours and 30 minutes, but forgot to check in because of the “adrenaline rush,” according to Ms. Nash.

– To donate to the Jade Memorial Fundraiser, visit:

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