Three good reasons to be a mum on the run

Sara Abbott is running the Yorkshire Marathon for the special baby care unit at Airedale Hospital, pictured with her triplets George, James and Fraser
Sara Abbott is running the Yorkshire Marathon for the special baby care unit at Airedale Hospital, pictured with her triplets George, James and Fraser
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Seven thousand people will take to the streets of York on Sunday in the second Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon. They all have their own reasons for running, as Catherine Scott discovers.

People have all sorts of reasons for wanting to run a marathon. It might be elite athletes looking for a world record, keen runners aiming to beat their personal best, or someone running in memory of a loved one. When Sara Abbott takes to the streets of York on Sunday it will be to say thank you for her triplets George, James and Fraser.

The natural triplets were born by emergency Cesaerian at just 29 weeks after Sara’s waters broke early.

Looking at the troublesome trio who are now four and have just stared school, it is hard to imagine them being born weighing little over 2lb each.

For Sara and her husband Alan, who were stunned when they were told they were expecting triplets, it was a worrying time.

“I was admitted to hospital at just 28 weeks and every day after that was a bonus,” explains Sara, from Keighley.

“I thought I was going to be in hospital until my planned c-section at 34 weeks so I told my mum and dad to carry on with their planned holiday, but my waters broke and I had them the next morning. They had to take them away to the intensive care unit straight away. The surgeon didn’t realise who my husband was and asked if he knew whether they were natural or IVF. He said ‘I should do, I’m their dad.’”

The boys spent a week in Leeds before being transferred to Airedale Hospital Special Care Baby Unit where they spent a further nine weeks due to them being so small. James was the biggest at 2lb 10 then George was 2lb 7 and Fraser the smallest at 2lb 4.

“Airedale only has three intensive care beds on SCBU and they couldn’t guarantee they would all be available, luckily they were only at Leeds for a week before being transferred to Airedale.

“When they told me I could go home I was devastated, I didn’t want to leave them.

“They didn’t feed very well and they needed some help with breathing for a while, when they eventually left hospital they were all still under 5 lbs.”

When the boys were eventually allowed home it was both exciting and daunting for the young parents.

“We had to work in shifts throughout the night,” recalls Sara.

“Our families were great, but I really struggled to get out of the house. I had two buggies and we are surrounded by big hills.”

Although the boys were so premature, they have developed normally and started school last month,

Sara decided to do the marathon to raise money for the Special Care Baby Unit at Airedale Hospital.

“I have always wanted to do something and I started running after having the boys. My friend asked if I fancied doing the Yorkshire Marathon.

“My husband was going to do it as well but he had to pull out due to a bad back.

“I want to raise money for the SCBU at Airedale to improve their equipment and give premature babies the best chance at the start of their lives when they are so fragile and vulnerable.

“ I have been in training since Christmas and I have run 22 miles in one go. I am looking forward to the day and to seeing my boys at the finish line.”

Leeds mum, Sarah Waite, is using her love of running to raise money for the hospital that saved the life of her prematurely born baby.

Sarah’s daughter, Emily, was born 13 weeks early in June last year.

It marked the start of a torrid time for Sarah and her husband, Stephen, as staff in the neo-natal unit at St James’s Hospital, Leeds, battled to ensure their daughter’s survival.

Sarah, who had carried her first child, Jack 11, full term with no problems, remembers the anxious months after Emily’s birth as “a really horrible time with no words to describe it.”

Emily spent five weeks in intensive care before being transferred to special care. She was in St James’s for three months before being allowed home a week before her proper due date of September 3

Sarah, who lives in Swillington, said: “I dread to think what would have happened without the staff at the unit, they were marvellous. They are like miracle workers and don’t get enough recognition.

“A few years ago a baby born at 27 weeks would have had a very poor chance of survival but now things have improved so much.

“I was so grateful to the unit I decided to set myself a challenge as a way of saying thank you and to try to put something back.”

A keen runner who completed the London Marathon in 2012, Sarah has this year completed the Leeds Half Marathon and the Asda Foundation Leeds, York, Hull and Pennine Lancashire 10Ks.

She now has the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon firmly in her sights.

She has raised more than £3,000 so far and for the Special Care Baby Unit at St James’s.

“I wanted to do something tor try to pay them back for all they have done for us,” says Sarah. “I really enjoy running and it has been an outlet in difficult times. Stephen is very supportive and looks after the children while I go on training runs. I am really looking forward to the Yorkshire Marathon.”

Although Sarah has been in training, it was a bit disrupted when she and Stephen decided to get married in August this year.

“We were supposed to get married the year before but then Emily had different ideas.”

n www.justgiving.com/Sara-Abbott1

n www.justgiving.com/Sarah-Kennedy7/For more information visit www.theyorkshire marathon.com

n For more information visit www.theyorkshire marathon.com