Helen set to take on third London Marathon in four years for cycle safety

Ryan Smith and Helen Kirk, of Boston College.
Ryan Smith and Helen Kirk, of Boston College.
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Funds will be raised for a cause set up in the name of a disabled teen from Chapel St Leonards when a Boston woman takes on her third London Marathon in four years.

Funds will be raised for a cause set up in the name of a disabled teen from Chapel St Leonards when a Boston woman takes on her third London Marathon in four years.

Helen Kirk is once again due to face the world famous 26.2-mile challenge, being held this year on April 23.

Helen, 42, of Brothertoft, ran the London Marathon – her first marathon anywhere – in 2014 with the cholesterol charity Heart UK.

Ahead of this, Helen had only been a casual runner, but said as 40 approached she went looking for a challenge.

“I thought what haven’t I done – I will do a marathon,” the mum-of-two said.

The following year, she was offered a place in the event through the public ballot and chose to run in aid of Cancer Research UK inspired by a family member’s fight against the disease.

After a year’s break, she has again been awarded a place through the ballot system and has this time chosen to run in support of The Ryan Smith Foundation.

The Ryan Smith Foundation raises money to assist people affected by brain injuries and promote cycle helmet safety awareness.

It was set up by Ryan Smith, 19, of Chapel St Leonards, and his family after Ryan suffered severe brain injuries in a cycling accident in 2013. He was not wearing a helmet.

Helen works with Ryan at Boston College as a learning support assistant.

“Ryan is a remarkable individual,” she said. “He is charismatic, has a big personality with a great sense of humour and one of the most positive people I have had the pleasure to meet and work with.”

She described the work of the foundation as ‘amazing’.

Helen, who has recently joined the Skegness and District Running Club, is hoping to raise £1,000 in support of the foundation.

“We can’t thank her enough,” Ryan’s father Mark Smith, 47, said on Helen’s pledge of support to the foundation set up in his son’s name.

Mark, who was this year awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours for services to supporting people with brain injuries and their families, added: “It’s truly humbling that people are still showing support after nearly four years.”

Ryan’s learning at Boston College is designed to encourage independence, Mark said.

He described Helen as ‘truly integral’ to Ryan’s life at the college, adding: “Ryan has nothing but praise for her.”

You can learn more about The Ryan Smith Foundation by searching for it on Facebook.

You can support her by searching for Helen Rochford-Kirk at www.justgiving.com