Personal message from Andrea Williams
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Personal message

I am devastated not to run

I will not run the London Marathon this year after sustaining a hip fracture

Dear friends,

With 63 hours to go until the start line of the London Marathon I found myself in the consulting room of Dr Richard Weiler, Consultant Physician in Sport, Exercise and Musculoskeletal Medicine.

I was there because my wonderful physiotherapist, Laura, has been wanting me to check out my hip injury since just before the Brighton Marathon (9 April).

I had tried to get an appointment but had left it too late before Brighton.
After Brighton, Laura said that I should try again and recommended the Fortius Clinic. There was just one appointment left on Wednesday at 2:30pm with Dr Weiler. He asked for an MRI scan and X-rays.

Yesterday evening I sat with him and the images of my hip and he told me that it was bad news; I had sustained "a significant stress fracture of the anterior lesser trochanter"a hip fracture.

'You cannot run London'

I hadn't researched Dr Weiler's experience but this morning I find that he holds many high-profile positions including Chief Medical Officer to West Ham United and Medical Officer for Paralympics GB (London 2012 and Rio 2016).

On meeting him, I told him of my aim to raise 100K for the work of Christian Concern; that London was my tenth marathon.

He wanted, if possible, to get me through it – to achieve the goal.

Yesterday, he told me straight"you cannot run London. Indeed, you cannot walk London. If you make this any worse, it will be serious, requiring surgery that will keep you out of action for a long time"

On receiving this news, I began to feel faint, vomited and passed out – right in front of him!

'My left leg gave way'

And then as I came around everything began to make sense.

I have been training very hard over many months; I train with my personal trainer Jake every morning at 6am. Through the winter, no matter how dark, no matter what the weather – we are up and out – running, running, running. If we are not running distance we're doing hill sprints, High Intensity Training and Weights. But in the last 8 weeks or so I have often turned to Jake and expressed my frustration at not seeing any improvement in my performance.

When putting in the distance you get used to feeling various aches and pains. About 8 weeks ago I got up to do a 10K run but my left leg gave way; it just wouldn't mobilise.

I put this down to it being 6am, very cold and the fact that I hadn't warmed up. Two days later I got up and ran a respectable 10K.

But in my head it was really beginning to get to me.

Running was my new-found joy after coming through breast cancer (my first marathon in New York was one of the best days of my life); it always freed my head space summer, autumn, winter, spring – time to think, reflect and pray.

But I had found a new anxiety creeping in; it was hurting; it felt frustrating. Something that had been my release was becoming another burden.

I had an injury but I didn't know it.

On 26 March I ran 20 miles on my own and it took too long. I returned home and fell down the stairs.

I felt my hip 'go'.

With Brighton Marathon just two weeks away I sought out physiotherapy. My physiotherapist was concerned but I pressed on.

And so, I ran Brighton with my daughter Florence – her first marathon. I felt that if I could run Brighton I could run London.

'Today I am learning much'

But after Brighton the leg refused to 'get back to work'. And now I know why.

In Hebrews 12:1-2 it says:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Running with perseverance is crucial in long-distance races and I am always glad to see the finish line.

Today I am learning much about disappointment and perseverance.

'Life is such a gift'

Dr Weiler has said that I must not run for at least 3 to 6 months and says that only then can we assess whether another marathon is possible.

I remember when I first ran on the South Downs (my favourite place to run in the whole wide world) and I proclaimed aloud "Lord Jesus, thank you, it is good to be alive".

Life is such a gift.

The ministry of Christian Concern is such a gift. I thank God to be a privileged participant in it.

Thank you for playing a part in the work and for your support of me.

Hebrews 12:1-2 reminds us that Jesus is our strength and that in Him and through Him we shall endure to the end. It is because of His saving work on the cross that Christian Concern has a work to do.

And now even as Dr Weiler asks for tests to be done on bones; testing out for tumours I realise afresh, that one day that only God knows, my race on this earth will be finished and I will cross the line into His outstretched arms.

I want my every day to count for Him.

'Thank you'

Thank you for sponsoring me for the work of Christian Concern. If Dr Weiler says that I can, it is my intention to run a tenth Marathon and this morning, I deferred my place to run London 2018.
It is humbling to fall, to fail, to seem weak, to be vulnerable, to fail in the task that I have told so many about. Have you seen all my video posts?

It remains an honour to be called to speak of Jesus in public life in the United Kingdom; I have been humbled and failed and been weak and vulnerable in public as I have sought to love Jesus and His righteousness in public. I know I'm called to run with perseverance in it. And this I shall do until He calls me home. Just not the London marathon this year.
If you have sponsored me for the marathon and would like us to return your gift this is not a problem and I completely understand. As you will know in the work of Christian Concern we can experience major set-backs and disappointments but God always has a way through; He always knows what he is doing; he brings good things out of the challenges. And that is why we greatly value your prayers and ongoing support. Thank you for standing with us.

Andrea Williams

Chief Executive, Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre

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