My Half Marathon team for the ‘Henry, Jasper & Evan Smith Trust Fund’, Royal Hospital for Women
When I set out to look for people to join my second annual team to run the half marathon and ‘help save tiny babies’, in memory of my triplet sons, the response I received was incredible. After months of hard training and fundraising, 130 people lined up at the start line on 18 May in our red team shirts to run the 21.1km Sydney Morning Herald Half Marathon for the ‘Henry, Jasper and Evan Smith Trust Fund’ at the Royal Hospital for
Women. The expected heavy rain and strong winds never materialised on race day. As my team gathered bright and early in Hyde Park for some frosty team photos, I couldn’t help but think that the sunshine was my Henry,Jasper and Evan smiling down on us. Our winning runners, Matilda & Kelly, racing each other to the finish line!
The team made their way to the start line and quickly dispersed amongst the 6000 other participants. The gun sounded and they were off up College St, and soon all 6000 runners had disappeared into the city. I took my place with other spectators along Art Gallery Rd, and in a ridiculously short space of time the winning runner was flying past, having completed his first lap of the City! A few minutes later and the front running pack was there, our first team runner not far behind.
From then on my eight-month-baby-bump and I jumped and cheered and waved as each of our runners came past – from the fittest and fastest to those for whom the course was a huge personal challenge. The determination and dedication shown by so many was truly inspiring, and humbling. So many told me afterwards that it was their thoughts of Henry, Jasper & Evan, and their brave struggle to live, that kept them going. Many told me that the tiny handprints on their backs literally pushed them up the hills and over the finish line. A highlight for me was seeing my husband, Ash, sprinting the final stretch to come in seconds under his goal time of 100 minutes. For some, it was not just Henry, Jasper and Evan who helped them, but the memories of their own precious babies lost due to prematurity or stillbirth. Baby Isabella helped her dad to push on despite a badly injured calf muscle, and baby Lucy inspired her uncle to run a fantastic time. And of course a huge inspiration was the generous amounts of money pledged to each runner by hundreds of sponsors– we were afterall ‘running for a humidicrib’ to save the lives of other precious premature and critically ill babies in Intensive Care at the Royal Hospital for Women.
I continue to be overwhelmed by the generosity of people in helping us raise these much needed funds for lifesaving equipment for the hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Centre, in memory of Henry, Jasper & Evan. A complete stranger in the crowd at the finish line handed me $50. Con and his staff at the Coogee Café donated all their tips from the race weekend. An anonymous donor sponsored one runner $10,000!
That afternoon we had a team after-party at the Beach Palace Hotel in Coogee, for runners and their sponsors. Among the guests was Tracey Spicer who spoke in her role as Ambassador to the hospital’s Newborn Intensive Care Centre and presented our team’s prizes. It was wonderful to see so many exhausted, yet exhilarated and proud runners celebrating their great achievement.
The success of this team would not have been possible without the kind support of local businesses in Coogee and Randwick, who helped in so many ways. Many cafes, including the Coogee Café, helped in recruiting runners through distributing flyers and displaying posters. ‘Salt and Lemon’ in Randwick encouraged people to join with the promise of free fish and chips! The Beast magazine kindly publicised the event. Chris Warhurst, of the Beach Palace Hotel, and Patrick Byrne, of the Coogee Dolphins, generously sponsored our team’s running singlets. Alex Porter offered her services as team photographer.
Amazingly, our team this year raised just over $100,000, which will be used to buy four much needed state-of the-art humidicribs for the smallest and sickest babies in Intensive Care. Thank you to all our generous sponsors, supporters and, of course, runners. It has been extremely uplifting to see the local community come together to support the Royal Hospital for Women, and in memory of my three very special little boys.
MY BEAUTIFUL, BRAVE LITTLE BOYS WHO INSPIRED SO MANY TO RUN
Henry Tim Smith Jasper Cotton Smith Evan Cotton Smith
Lived 31 July 06 20 August – 16 October 06 20 August – 29 August 06
You can shed tears because they are gone
Or you can smile because they have lived.
You can close your eyes and pray they’ll come back
Or you can open your eyes and see all they’ve left.
Your heart can be empty because you can’t see them
Or it can be full of the love you shared.
You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday
Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.
You can remember them and only that they’ve gone
Or you can cherish their memory and let it live on.
You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back
Or you can do what they’d want: smile, open your eyes, love and go on.