Be more Gaz: ‘Not a runner’ mum takes on 50k ultra-marathon on behalf of “brave” husband who died this year

"I just think, how could he carry on when that was happening? But that was just him. He always said he would beat it.”
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A Sheffield mum-of-two is running the 50k Ladybower Ultra for Cavendish Cancer Care on behalf of her husband, who had planned to do the run himself, before his cancer relapsed and he passed away suddenly in February.

In November 2022, while in remission for the second time following a two-year leukaemia fight, Gareth Smith decided to celebrate by taking on the 31-mile mission himself, but did not get the chance.

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Lindsay, Gareth’s wife, said: "I said at the time, ‘no way am I doing it’, but trained with him. We were running 15ks together, but he couldn't come out often because he was still unwell.

"Then, at the end of January, he was given two weeks to live."

Gareth while he was on a training run in November, after a clinical trial helped the cancer go into remission for a second time.Gareth while he was on a training run in November, after a clinical trial helped the cancer go into remission for a second time.
Gareth while he was on a training run in November, after a clinical trial helped the cancer go into remission for a second time.

Gareth made the most of his final two weeks, having celebrations with friends, spending time with his daughters and Lindsay, and going up to his favourite rock on Stanage Edge.

"Even though his body was failing, he walked up there," said Lindsay. "The next day, his friends threw a party, and he was messing around with everyone and did a striptease.

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"And then a few days later, he was gone. I just think, how could he carry on when that was happening? But that was just him. He always said he would beat it."

Gareth at his spot at Stanage Edge. Lindsay accidentally ran 27k, instead of 10k, when she got the urge to visit his spot while on a run from Crosspool.Gareth at his spot at Stanage Edge. Lindsay accidentally ran 27k, instead of 10k, when she got the urge to visit his spot while on a run from Crosspool.
Gareth at his spot at Stanage Edge. Lindsay accidentally ran 27k, instead of 10k, when she got the urge to visit his spot while on a run from Crosspool.

Lindsay and her supporters decided on ‘Be more Gaz’ as their slogan ahead of the Round Sheffield Run, because it "just summarises who he was, and how brave he was".

On her fundraising page, which has raised over £850, she says: "He was always so brave and courageous, so I decided to put on my big girl pants, #bemoregaz, and get stuck into training.

"Gareth - I hear your footsteps beside me on my runs."

Lindsay, runners, and supporters at the Round Sheffield Run in June. All their T-shirts read "Be More Gaz".Lindsay, runners, and supporters at the Round Sheffield Run in June. All their T-shirts read "Be More Gaz".
Lindsay, runners, and supporters at the Round Sheffield Run in June. All their T-shirts read "Be More Gaz".

On February 3, ten days before Gareth died, a photographer friend of Lindsay’s went out with the couple to Padley Gorge for a photoshoot.

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"It was so special, and even at a horrible, horrible time, you can see in that photo what we were like," said Lindsay.

Lindsay, who does not consider herself a runner, has had a few "mishaps" while training including getting lost and having to wade through a kilometre of marshland, and when she did not take enough food or water and had to get her dad to pick her up.

Rain or shine: Lindsay has been training intensely for the Ultra, with the support of a physio, her family, and both running and non-running friends.Rain or shine: Lindsay has been training intensely for the Ultra, with the support of a physio, her family, and both running and non-running friends.
Rain or shine: Lindsay has been training intensely for the Ultra, with the support of a physio, her family, and both running and non-running friends.

She said: "I’ve learned from them and hopefully that means none will happen on Saturday. I know Gareth would be looking at me, like, ‘oh my god, Lindsay’.

"But he would have done silly things like that too - he once took us up Win Hill, and then got us totally lost on the way back. I was covered in mud and was saying, ‘you are such a wally’.

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"Gareth had the physique for it, I always say he had Gazelle legs. He was so tall, he just made it look easy, whereas I’m 5 '4!"

"Merry Xmas": On their last Christmas as a family, the Smiths built a festive message on the beach from driftwood."Merry Xmas": On their last Christmas as a family, the Smiths built a festive message on the beach from driftwood.
"Merry Xmas": On their last Christmas as a family, the Smiths built a festive message on the beach from driftwood.

Gareth and Lindsay’s daughters, Isabel and Sienna, aged seven and five, supported the group during the Round Sheffield Run and will be meeting Lindsay at various spots during the Ultra.

Both runs raised money for Cavendish Cancer Care, which have supported the family ever since they reached out in 2020.

Lindsay said: "It's a place where they understand. It's so important for the girls to express themselves too, because they’re so young, and don't have the words to say ‘oh, I'm angry’ or ‘I’m sad’. And it is still very raw."

Gareth and Lindsay SmithGareth and Lindsay Smith
Gareth and Lindsay Smith
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Despite her immense training, including running 20, 25, 30, then 35 kilometres each week since her children have gone back to school, Lindsay doesn’t consider herself a runner, since she only started last year.

She said: "If Saturday goes well, maybe I will turn around and say, ‘right, I’m a runner now’. I trained for a long time for this and it does feel good that it’s coming up now."

After her ultra-marathon on Saturday, October 14, Lindsay will be looking ahead to running the Manchester marathon, again fundraising for Cavendish.