Pardip took part in the inaugural London Landmarks Half Marathon. Inspired by a story his friend had told him and keen to present himself with a new challenge, he ran for Tommy's wearing a straitjacket! This is his story and reason for running:
About ten years ago a friend of mine was expecting her very first child which unfortunately ended in miscarriage. This dealt a big blow to her, and her family who were all looking forward to welcoming a new baby into the family. She went through depression, anxiety and had to come to terms with the fact that she had lost a baby to miscarriage.
Some years later, my friend discovered that she was pregnant again. Her past experience meant that, upon hearing this news, she wasn’t not happy nor sad – but just hoping to go through a pregnancy and normal birth. I remember her telling me how she had made changes to her lifestyle to try and ensure that her unborn child would have the best chance.
Sadly, she lost her second baby to miscarriage. This was truly a heart-breaking moment for her and put much pressure on her marriage. While her and her husband overcame these pressures with time, the loss they went through has never been forgotten. My friend felt that she would never become a mother. With the support of counselling and her family, she managed to get on with daily life – never forgetting the children she could have had.
One day, I asked my friend to explain how she felt when suffering two miscarriages. She told that she felt helpless; as though my hands were tied behind her back, because there was nothing else she could have done to avoid the loss. I could really feel her sadness in my heart. I am married and have two young, healthy boys; Harry, aged 8, and Garry, who just turned 4. I could not imagine life without them.
My friend had told me about Tommy’s the Baby Charity who fund research into miscarriage, stillbirth and pre-term birth. In support of my friend, I wanted to see how I could raise awareness of women who suffer from such loss.
I am already a keen runner; both short and long-distance races which I have been doing for more than twenty years. When I did some more research into Tommy’s, I found that they were organising the inaugural London Landmarks Half Marathon on Sunday 25th March 2018. The LLHM was to become a very special race for me and was a way I could support my friend who lost her two babies.
It was talking to my family about the LLHM which made me realise that I should try to break a Guinness World Record. I sat down and went through the Guinness World Record website to see what might be a suitable record; always having in mind what my friend about the feeling of her hands being tied and her not being able to be in control of her pregnancies.
There were so many records to choose from, until I came across a record for the Fastest Marathon in a Straitjacket. Until then, this had only been done for a full marathon, not a half marathon and so I applied to Guinness Word Record to break this record. After a few months, I got the reply I was waiting for; my application for Fastest Half Marathon in a Straitjacket had been accepted by the Guinness World Records Team and to achieve this record, I would be to beat 01:45:00.
The Guinness World Records Guidelines state that the straitjacket should be a Posey Straitjacket as this is the one used for all Guinness World Records. With a few weeks to go before race day, I manged to get hold of a medical company in the USA who were selling the Posey Straitjacket. The UK do not sell these Straitjackets anymore, and so I had to buy one from the USA.
I needed to get some practice in, so I bought myself a cheap version of a straitjacket from eBay and ran a 10k race in Finsbury Park and then a Half Marathon at the Old Deer Park. On running these races, I felt good knowing that I could actually run a half marathon with my hands tied up. To continue with my training up to race day, I used to go out running at 2am so that my wife could be at home with our two boys. I used to run from Hayes, where I live, to Shepherds Bush Market Station and back again, twenty miles altogether. I never wore the straitjacket when I trained, I did not want anyone to call the police to report an Asian man running through the streets of West London with straitjacket!
I think my confidence grew as my training was going from strength to strength, slowly but surely, I was pacing myself to beat the time of 01:45:00. When things did get tough, I would just think about my friend and how she kept going through her miscarriages; this gave me the motivation I needed to carry on.
On race day, I felt slightly nervous but confident that I could achieve a Guinness World Record. I decided to run alongside the 01:45:00 pacer as I needed witness statements as part my evidence to support my record attempt.
Going past so many Landmarks, the spectators on either side of the roads was absolutely amazing. I managed to keep pace and just before the finish I gave it a sprint finish as I knew I was on target for a record. When I crossed the finish line, I was the happiest man on earth. My finish time was 01:43:43; a New Guinness World Record for Fastest Half Marathon in a Straitjacket, becoming the first ever person in history to attempt and achieve this record and raising awareness for Tommy's.
Since the race, my friend has had a healthy baby boy, but she will never forget what she went through before. My next step is to decide what record I will break in the London Landmarks Half Marathon 2019 and how I can help to raise vital funds for Tommy’s!