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London Marathon runner Marie Harwick. Photo: Mark Williamson.
London Marathon runner Marie Harwick. Photo: Mark Williamson.

LOSING a loved one to suicide and having to deal with post-natal depression left Marie Hardwick from Stratford-upon-Avon completely devastated but she’s now using the power of positive energy to prepare her for the London Marathon in April which will be her first.

Marie was 18 and dating her first steady boyfriend called Ed, aged 23, in Stamford, Lincolnshire, when – like so many other young couples – they had an argument and Marie finished the relationship.

She knew Ed had struggled with mental health problems but he was also a, “kind and wonderful person.”

They spoke to each other on the phone the next day and Ed said to Marie: “I can’t live without you.” Tragically he was to take his own life when he hung himself in his bedroom.

“I just collapsed,” said Marie. “I was due to meet him to talk about it. I was like a grieving widow and I was only 18. I did stay in contact with his family for a long time. It’s very sad because he never got to have family. At the age of 23 young men are incredibly vulnerable to suicide. It’s an awkward thing to talk about and it’s an illness but it’s so important to talk like you would do about a broken arm. I’m prepared to talk about it because I’ve both suffered both sides of depression first through a relationship and been hit hard by post-natal after the birth of my second baby boy. I have two young boys at nursery school in Stratford and I really worry about the pressures they face with social media. Some people think people choose to be depressed it’s so difficult to explain, it will eat you up inside out.”

Marie will be running her first London Marathon – which is the 40th staging of the event on 26th April; it’s also four days before her 40th birthday so she’s chosen to raise money for the mental health charity Mind. Her husband, Mike, and the boys Sebastian, aged 5, and Joshua, 3 in March, won’t be able to join Marie on the day, they will be involved in the Stratford Marathon handing drinks out to runners before watch mum on the television later – fingers crossed.

“Running has been amazing to me. I’m a self-employed, busy mum of two, with a husband. Sometimes I just need that half hour of calmness and running gives me that,” said Marie.

It’s a brave endeavour she’s undertaking having had disc surgery on two slipped discs in her 20s and also suffered a broken back in three places but she’s determined to do it.

“I’m in training doing three runs a week. I’ve joined Extreme Gym to help with the back problems and I’ve run the Stratford half marathon twice before. I hate blisters but I can imagine I will have to grit my teeth to get through the finish line. Runners have this code, if you see somebody struggling, you pick them up and take them with you, and you say, ‘c’mon you can do it.’ For a few hours of my life I’ll be going through pain but I want my little boys to one day think mummy did it and that I’ve made them proud,” said Marie.

London Marathon runner Marie Harwick. Photo: Mark Williamson



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