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PADS 21:21 2021 - 21 miles in 21 days

By Jess

Running 21 Miles in 21 days may not seem like a lot. It isn’t really. A mile a day? 2 miles every other day? I used to do that in my sleep, quite literally, in the morning as I ran to the train station.

But that was before. Before I was pregnant with Frida. Before the world was hit by COVID-19. Before I became partially responsible for 2 small people. Before maternity leave. Everyone knows maternity leave (should) equals coffee, cake, and plenty of lunch dates - most of which is done sat down. It has also been winter and I wind down in winter. Don’t we all? A tin of quality streets and a glass of red wine are far more alluring than a cold, wet, dark run. And don’t get me started on the mud! My favorite place to run is covered in mud!!!! Not safe to run at all. So I don’t. I started again at 12 weeks postpartum. My stamina was good and I got up to a week of 3k runs and then, well, stopped.

I didn’t and don’t beat myself up about it. The weather sucks, I’m enjoying cosy nights in with my husband, writing my blog, researching, reading and planning stuff for the girls and had decided not to add ‘stressing about finding time to fit runs in’ to my ‘to do’ list.

But I do want to get back to running as I love it and I know how good it makes me feel. Whilst I have stuck to my weekly Pilates class and am regularly hitting my 10,000 steps a day goal, I’m not moving enough to feel the best I can.

So putting all of that into the pot, I’ve come to the conclusion that:

A) I am a fair-weather runner; and

B) I need a goal to keep me motivated to run.

There is very little I can do about ‘A’ until the spring. I don’t want to wait that long.

So ‘B’ it is.

Positive About Down Syndrome (PADS) has been an absolute and utter pillar of strength, information, support, joy, and love, and I’ve ‘met’ some incredible people in the almost year since I’ve been part of one of the Facebook support groups. So I decided that it would be a good idea to undertake a small, but significant challenge, to raise awareness of PADS and the awesome babies we have recently brought into this world.

Not only does PADS provide a safe space for expectant and new parents to find information and support in a safe and non-judgmental environment, but it also fills those environments with real experts and supports with videos giving us information about things we might need to be aware of, packs to share with nursery and schools, subsidised counselling, Makaton and Early Development courses, and a voice where it matters.

All of that for posting on my local Down Syndrome group, which was luckily seen by Nicola who suggested I pop across to the PADS expectant mother’s group.

Since sharing with people that Frida had Down Syndrome, I have had quite a few people get in touch about friends who have had a diagnosis, either prenatal or postnatal, asking for any information I can provide. PADS has made my job easy. I simply tell them to Google ‘Positive About Down Syndrome’ and they, and the powerful community they have cultivated does the rest. They are a charity and to continue, need more funds.

I think you can see where this is going!

I shared my wish to raise money in this way with the group and loads of people were interested and it has now become PADS 21:21 2021. The idea is to do 21 in 21; anything we can have fun with and will be a bit of a challenge to undertake in March 2021 to raise awareness of Positive About Down Syndrome in the run-up to World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March 2021.

Some people are going to run 21 miles across a 21 day period, some may walk it in 21 hours if they feel like it, others may swim, or be more creative with the challenge. Kids can join in too and play around with the challenge and the units! They could do 21 laps of the garden within 21 hours, 21 star jumps, or 21 claps in 21 minutes. Someone has already signed up to complete a daily challenge across 21 days, for 21 minutes a day. She will also receive her Rainbows Fundraising badge as well as raise important funds.

I am going to run 21 miles across the space of 21 days from 1 -21 March, fitting it in when I can.

So why 21 miles in 21 days? Well, World Down Syndrome Day is on 21 March. It is on 21 March because our gorgeous babies have three copies of chromosome 21. I originally wondered whether it should be 21 miles in 3 days, but decided to keep it realistic for now – I have only very recently had a baby...

If anyone would like to help us raise valuable funds for PADS to enable them to continue to support parents and kids with Down Syndrome and their communities, then please do donate here

And if you want to join in, let me know as we are hoping to track our miles in some way, so watch this space and we will be running in T-Shirts that you can buy here:

I will keep you all updated across March 2021 with our progress!