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Scots dad completes charity lockdown marathon in back garden

Marathons across the world may have been cancelled in the wake of coronavirus, but Hamish Robertson managed to complete the feat from his own back garden.

The father-of-two from Bishopbriggs finished a full marathon by running laps around his back yard, all to raise funds for the “superheroes” who saved his daughter’s life.

Hamish’s daughter, Isobel, was born prematurely in 2018 at just 26 weeks, weighing only two pounds. She was looked after in the Princess Royal Maternity Neonatal Unit in Glasgow for 91 days.

Now, Hamish, 36, is determined to give back to the neonatal unit which cared for his daughter by raising funds for Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

He hopes to complete the extraordinary challenge of running 110km in one go around the Isle of Arran in June, alongside his “Neonatal Harriers” teammates Graeme Ritchie and Chris Chambers.

The current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions were set to hinder Hamish’s training for the challenge, but the determined dad set himself an extensive training plan from his own back yard.

Coined the “Lockathon Backyard Series”, Hamish has run one mile, five kilometre, 10km, half marathon and now full marathon challenges at his own home.

Hamish said: “The purpose of the Lockathon Backyard series is to raise awareness of the incredible work done by neonatal units during the COVID-19 crisis, and to support the efforts of Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity.

“Like many tiny, fragile and vulnerable babies, Isobel benefited hugely from the dedicated support of the amazing staff at the Princess Royal Maternity Neonatal Unit. She was given the best possible start to life and is doing well now, and we cannot thank the heroic teams who cared for her enough.”

Hamish completing the feat

Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity raise funds for medical equipment, technology and support services at all three of Glasgow’s neonatal units. Hamish and his family benefited from one of the charity’s projects in particular – a video messaging service for them to feel connected with Isobel during her extended hospital stay.

Hamish added: “When your baby’s in a neonatal intensive care unit, one thing that brings incredible happiness to you is going in to visit, and if you have family or in particular siblings, taking them in to see their tiny baby brother or sister.

“I know that due to Covid-19, visits like this will no longer be possible, so my thoughts are with all of the strong and brave families who can’t be with their little ones. It is so important that families have the chance to keep connected to their babies and children in hospital at this worrying time. I’m sure the vCreate video messaging service funded by Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity will feel like a lifeline to many.”

Hamish’s wife, Christine, added: “One of the hardest parts of our baby being on the neonatal unit was having to leave her each night. Receiving the vCreate videos funded by Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity from the staff overnight, allowed us and our older daughter to see how Isobel was doing while we were away, and gave us the reassurance we needed while we couldn’t be with her. This connection with her was really important in helping with expressing milk while at home, and helping our older daughter to feel more involved.”

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to put pressure on NHS services, Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity have launched an emergency fundraising appeal to support frontline staff and the families in their care.

Money raised will help to fund technology to keep families and their children connected, financial aid for families struggling to afford travel to visit their children and resources for NHS staff.

Kirsten Sinclair, Chief Operating Officer at Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “During this challenging time, it is always humbling to hear about our supporters going above and beyond to make a difference. We are incredibly grateful to Hamish for his remarkable training and fundraising efforts, and would like to congratulate him on completing his Lockathon Backyard Series.

“Life has slowed down for many of us, but life in Glasgow’s neonatal units and children’s hospital has not. We urgently need donations to help our hospital heroes give seriously ill children the care they need and to support their families during these dark days.

“Donations to our urgent COVID-19 appeal will be directed to where the NHS most needs help right now to cope with this crisis. One of these needs is to fund more iPads to keep families connected with their babies and children in hospital during this worrying time when visiting is restricted.

“We understand that it’s a challenging time for everyone, but every donation, no matter how big or small will make an immediate difference, and will be greatly appreciated.”

To donate to the charity’s Emergency Covid-19 Appeal, visit the Glasgow Children’s Hospital Charity Facebook page.

Alternatively, go to or call 0141 212 8750.