On Your Marks for for NICU fun run

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Scores of charity fun runners will be lining up for the start of this year’s On Your Marks Luton to race money for the Luton & Dunstable Hospital’s baby care unit this Sunday.

Runners of all ages and abilities will be limbering up to tackle the 10km, 5km and 2km courses at Vauxhall Recreation Centre in Gypsy Lane with all proceeds raised going to the L&D’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) which cares for 900 sick or premature babies each year.

Among the runners on Sunday will be dad-of-two Alisdair Darbyshire, who is taking part with nine friends.

Alisdair and his wife Miranda know only too well how valuable the NICU is to families at times of immense stress and heartache.

Their first child, baby daughter Ella, sadly died in 2008 aged just eight days old, and the couple are full of praise for the way their family was treated by staff at the L&D.

“We couldn’t have asked for anything more,” he said.

“They were very, very helpful and supported us really well. We still keep in contact with them.”

The couple now have two daughters, two-year-old Megan and Annabelle, who was born in January.

Alisdair also took part in last year’s On Your Marks, and has also held a fundraising night for the NICU.

You can sponsor him at www.justgiving.com/Miranda-Darbyshire.

More than £3,000 has already been raised for the charity from this year’s race and thanks to the generosity of local businesses including the event’s main sponsor Indigo Residential as well as A-Plan Insurance Luton and Bartham Group every penny of sponsorship raised will benefit the premature and sick babies born at the Luton & Dunstable Hospital.

Entries for the race may have closed but you can still do your bit by coming along and cheering on those taking part or donating to the NICU appeal.

As well as the run, there will be lots going on for all the family including face painting and sports massage.

For those running, collection of race numbers and chips takes place either on Saturday in the Balcony Bar at the Vauxhall Recreation Centre from 9.30-11am or on the day between 8am and 9.15am.

The 10km race starts at 10am followed by the 5km and once those two races are completed the 2km will start.

> To donate to the NICU Appeal online log onto www.justgiving.com/nicuappeal.