When Caddington dad Mike Morland signed up for his first marathon in 2014, he did so with a heavy heart.
He was running in memory of his triplets, who were born prematurely in 2005, and the date fell between the boys’ birthdays.
Even then, he realised that his fundraising efforts somehow managed to lift his spirits, because he felt he was doing something positive.
The Virgin Atlantic aircraft certifying engineer split the proceeds between the company charity Free the Children and The Baby Snow Fairy Fund, set up after the death of Neve Faye (which means Snow Fairy), who was also one of triplets.
“It couldn’t have been more appropriate or closer to our hearts,” he said.
He and his wife Helen went on to have two more children - Charlie, who’s 10 and seven-year-old Jessica.
Now Mike – who has just turned 40 – is in training for the marathon again.
He said: “Fundraising has certainly been a big help. Considering how powerless we felt during our time with the triplets, it’s comforting and rather cathartic to be able to do something that will help babies and families in similar positions to us today and in the future.
“The thought of the boys is a major focus when I’m running, particularly on those harder training days.
“For them, the pain of blisters, aches, tiredness and ‘the wall’ is wholly worth it.”
This time Mike’s training has been carried out in a series of exotic locations as a result of work postings – he’s been pounding the pavements in the Philippines and South Carolina, as well as round the Dunstable and Caddington area.
He and Helen have found that time does heal.
He said: “It does get easier, although as Charlie and Jess reach certain milestones we can’t help but think of David, Josh and Leo and what those milestones would have been like for them.
“Charlie and Jess talk about their brothers from time to time which is lovely to hear, but obviously from a completely different perspective to ours.
“We still visit our sons’ graves in Harlow regularly and their birthdays are still as much a part of our family calendar as our own.”
David was stillborn on April 12 and Josh and Leo died two days later on April 14.
Mike recalled: “When they were born all our hopes were pinned on the expertise of the doctors and specialists.
“Even though it’s too late for our babies, fundraising finally makes you feel you’re doing something to help.”
> Sponsor Mike at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MikeMorland