GAYLE Palmer-Barber is living life on the run as she prepares for the London Marathon.
The legal secretary is stepping up her training for the race which she is doing to raise funds for the neonatal unit that saved her premature son’s life.
Gayle, 28, who works at Walker Smith Way solicitors’ Chester office, is running for the neonatal intensive care unit at University Hospital of North Staffordshire NHS Trust, where her son Ethan was cared for after he was born early at just 27 weeks weighing 1lb 8oz, less than a bag of sugar.
Both Gayle and her son were critically ill when he was born because of a problem with his blood supply caused by the pregnancy condition pre-eclampsia. Against the odds, Ethan, now nine, survived although he needed constant attention for the first three years of his life.
Gayle is taking her training seriously and recently completed the Nottingham to Derby Kilomathon, finishing the 16.3 mile race in 2 hours 57 minutes and 21 seconds – well within the four-hour time limit and beating her target of three hours.
Gayle said: “The longest race I’d run before the Kilomathon was 10 miles, so I’m really pleased with my time. I’d like to do the London Marathon in about four and a half hours, but the fundraising is the really important thing. I have raised nearly £700 so far but I’m hoping that more people who have friends and family who have gone through hard times with premature birth will sponsor me.”
As the marathon date draws near Gayle is training hard. “I live in Stoke so I don’t get home from work until 7pm,” she said. “I train for two hours on a Monday and Wednesday in the gym. I run on a Thursday night. I then run at around 6am on a Saturday and then I am in the gym or running for two hours on a Sunday morning.
“When people askŠwhy I am runningŠfor neonatal, the answer is easy –Šmy son’s life, like any other child’s life, is priceless.ŠEthan’s battles,Šlike so manyŠof theŠchildren that need neonatal intensive care, didn’t stop when he came home, but without neonatal some of these children, just like Ethan,Šwouldn’t get a chance to try.”Š
Go-getter Gayle has managed to combine motherhood with passing her A-levels and a law degree and starts a training contract with Walker Smith Way in September 2010. She hopes to qualify as a solicitor in 2012. Elen Rowlands, marketing manager at Walker Smith Way, said: “Gayle is a real inspiration, she manages to juggle work, home life and studying – to fit in a marathon as well is incredible. We’ve been delighted to sponsor her running kit as well as making a donation to this very worthy cause.”
You can sponsor Gayle online at www.justgiving.co.uk/Gayle-Palmer-Barber.