Skip to content

“This marathon was very special to me”: Running the Edinburgh Marathon in memory of husband

On Sunday 26 May, Helen Honour ran the Edinburgh Marathon. This was her fourth marathon having entered one every decade since taking part in the New York Marathon in her twenties, but this one was special as she was running for us in memory of her husband Andrew Crooks and his brother, Alex, who both lived with muscular dystrophy. Andrew died in December 2022, aged 58. Running alongside her friend Beck Addison, together they raised £2,773.

Happy couple pose with flowers on their wedding day

My husband, Andrew Crooks, was described by colleagues as a ‘disability warrior’ and worked in the voluntary sector for nearly 30 years. He was diagnosed with Becker muscular dystrophy at the age of 11 and his older brother, Alex, also lived with the condition.

I knew we were going to be together forever

Andrew and I met in London in 2001 when we worked together at the disability equality charity Scope. I remember when we first went out, he just kept falling over so here was a man literally falling at my feet. Two years later, Andrew accepted he needed a wheelchair, which gave him freedom to go where he wanted without worrying about losing his balance, so he took me to Australia to watch the Ashes and to Seville to see Celtic play in the UEFA cup final.

We laughed a lot, and his sense of humour is something that everyone knew him for. Within a few months of knowing him, I knew that we were going to be together forever. Andrew and I moved from London to Sheffield in 2009 and have two children, Lottie (19) and Dylan (9).

Andrew spent most of his life fighting for equality

In the mid-1950s, when Andrew and Alex’s parents, Jim and Nell, were told that their eldest son Alex had muscular dystrophy and was unlikely to live past 15, they formed a Muscular Dystrophy Campaign group in Lanarkshire to help themselves and other families affected by muscle wasting conditions. Over the years, they raised thousands of pounds to help fund research and support others living with muscular dystrophy. Andrew also worked for the campaign along with other charitable causes and championed disability awareness.

Andrew spent most of his life fighting for equality and being an advocate for vulnerable groups – something that he inherited from his parents and that lives on in our children. He loved Scottish football, English cricket and punk music and believed passionately in the power of sport and music to bring people together.

Fuelled by memories of our trips to Scotland together

I ran my first marathon – the New York Marathon – in 2001, followed by the London Marathon in 2006. In 2014, to mark my forties, I travelled up to the Scottish Highlands to run 26.2 miles around Loch Ness. I signed up for the Edinburgh Marathon in 2024 to mark turning 50 and pay tribute to my husband and the memories of our trips to Scotland together.

Andrew wasn’t here to cheer me on in person in Edinburgh as he did in London, or track and share my progress as he did when I ran around Loch Ness, but I was fuelled by memories of our various trips to Scotland together while running this marathon. In particular, my 30th birthday celebration at Edinburgh Festival and Lottie’s 7th birthday trip to Edinburgh Zoo. I have lots of good memories of time we spent together in Scotland, so this marathon was very special to me.

Training for a marathon takes over your life a bit but it has been good for me. Our son Dylan cycled alongside me for some of my training runs and I knew that all my family and friends were behind me. And of course, I had my wonderful friend Beck running alongside me in the rain on the day. I’m so grateful for everyone’s support and helping to raise so much for a cause that is close to my heart.

Inspired by Helen’s story and want to take on your own challenge?

Stay connected with our community

Get the latest news, inspiring stories, upcoming events, and valuable support services delivered straight to your inbox.