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Children with Cancer Charity Inspires Birmingham City University Students at 2018 London Marathon

The 2018 London Marathon proved to be the hottest marathon on record for the capital city and Sports Therapists from Birmingham City University (BCU) were out in force to support many very tired runners at the end of the race. BCU had teamed up with the renowned charity Children with Cancer UK; who had 1400 runners enduring the heat and 26.2miles, to raise money for a hugely worthy cause.

BCU Sports Therapy Lecturer Chelsea Papworth has been working with Children with Cancer UK at various events over the past 4 years and she told us how she had been keen to get BCU’s first cohort supporting this year’s race:

‘Children with Cancer UK (CwC) are fantastic. Not only are the staff incredibly welcoming, there is an indescribable atmosphere created for every runner who comes through the doors. They all have reasons for their fundraising and are very inspiring individuals whom we are more than happy to help. I cannot thank CwC enough for providing us with the opportunity to continue to support them at these events; the experience is invaluable for our students.’

Chelsea and Tim Leary, Senior Lecturer in Sports Therapy at BCU had the foresight to have a ‘before and after chat’ with two of the BCU students Rachel Hutchison and Ryan Foster; gaining valuable feedback which we are sure will be both useful and reassuring for students embarking on their first public event in the future.

Rachel was excited about the chance to demonstrate what she had learnt throughout her first year of the course, whilst being in a new environment and said: ‘ I am a little apprehensive as you never know who is going to walk through the door or how they may be after finishing the marathon. I know that it is important to apply what I have learnt so far to help relax the runners.’

Ryan Foster was most looking forward to ‘meeting and helping the amazing people who have raised money for the charity. I am also looking forward to experiencing being a sports therapist first hand in a professional environment.’

After arriving at the QEII centre in London, the students were put through their paces as part of a multidisciplinary team. They were treating runners for about 6 hours in total and according to Chelsea Papworth, they did a fantastic job.

So how did the event work out for the two students?

‘It was an amazing experience, one that I would happily do again, as the appreciation from the runners and the charity was exceptional. Even after hours of massage, everyone carried on, as the reason for doing it was beneficial and gave me the encouragement to help as many people after their run. My favourite part of the day was when the first runner came through the door and the atmosphere in the room was lifted. It was important for the runners to know how many people were behind them and supporting them when they were completing the marathon.’ said Rachel

For Ryan it had also proved equally rewarding:

‘Overall the experience was amazing! I have benefitted from learning what a fast paced massage scenario is like and also how much I would like to work in a similar environment. My favourite part of the day was talking to the athletes and listening to their stories.’ Ryan Foster.

Peter Thain who is Programme Leader and Senior Lecturer of Sports Therapy at BCU, and back from working at the 2018 Commonwealth Games with Team England Basketball said:

‘This was another fantastic opportunity for our students to gain real life experience in delivering sports therapy. Whilst the students have been running a Sports Massage Clinic at BCU, there is nothing like providing sports therapy support to runners post marathon! It is also important that students recognise the need to embrace every opportunity, even if not in Birmingham, and therefore I am grateful to Chelsea and CwC for organising and providing this opportunity for us, thank you!

BCU would like to thank Children with Cancer UK, for allowing our students to get involved and we are looking forward to London Marathon 2019 already.

Editor’s Note

Our thanks to Chelsea and BCU for giving us a great insight into their day from a  student perspective and well done to all BCU sports therapy students and staff who took part.

If you, your university, your clinic, your team took part in the 2018 London Marathon either supporting a charity or runners in general, or if you actually took part in the race, do get in touch and tell us about your day – it would be great to hear from you.

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