"My grandad was a family man and exceptionally proud; he’ll be in my thoughts as I run."

St Neot’s-based HR Manager Chelsea Zwetsloot aged 29, secured herself a place in the London Marathon ballot and decided to run to raise funds for Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice in memory of her Grandad. Here’s her story.

Sue Ryder London Marathon runner Chelsea with her beloved Granddad on her wedding day 546
Chelsea with her beloved Granddad on her wedding day.
Chelsea in her Sue Ryder London Marathon vest
Chelsea at the hospice

I’m running London Marathon 2019 after being lucky enough to receive a ballot place.

I wanted to use this chance to make a difference and I wanted to do something that mattered. My local hospice, St Johns at Moggerhanger, took great care of my Grandad in the short time he was with them in November last year. The difference in his attitude and the support that my Nan received was clear for anyone to see, and was so appreciated by the whole family.

The hospice is important to me because it provides an option of better care and surroundings when it matters most. Knowing how much the hospice depends on fundraising, I decided to run for them. I’m honoured to be doing my bit to help keep their invaluable services going.

Grandad's story

My grandad became very ill very quickly. He spent almost two weeks at Bedford Hospital and, whilst he received great care, he was deeply unhappy. He was permitted home for a short while but the care he needed was a huge task and pressure for the family.

It was a sad thought when I heard he was leaving home for another place, but as soon as I visited Sue Ryder St John’s Hospice, I realised it was the best place for him. The grounds and building were welcoming and beautiful. The staff were incredibly friendly, and I saw quickly that he had already formed some friendships with the Sue Ryder Nurses.

Grandad was in a warm, comfortable private room, with his things around him. The week he was there, he was as well looked after as we could have asked for, and the support my Nan received when she was there with him was incredible.

Preparing for my first marathon

I’ve never run a marathon before, but I have run seven half-marathons. This is a huge undertaking for me; I’m slow and a bit prone to injury, but it will just be all the more amazing when I manage to get to the end!

I’m most excited about seeing the crowds on the streets of London and being cheered on. I just hope there’s some crowds left by the time I finish!

My whole family is very proud of me supporting Sue Ryder. We’re a large and close group, and they’ve been fundamental in getting me through this. I want to thank my parents, Tess and Andrew Crosbie, for supporting me in my madness of running this far, and for their constant reassurance and love too.

I’ve been training with my running group, KJ Running Buddies, who have been a fantastic support. I’ve been doing Pilates with PureCore Pilates which has been fundamental in my training. I’m also cross-training by cycling and strength-training during the week. Thanks go to Kerry Surkitt and Jenine Cooper for their unwavering support and advice.

"Grandad will be cheering me to the finish"

My grandad, Bill Crosbie, was a family man through and through and was exceptionally proud of all of us. We shared so many amazing memories when I was growing up, and I’m so pleased to have these to keep.

During one of my training races for the London Marathon, they had bagpipes playing at the finish line. My grandad was a fiercely proud Scotsman, and I really felt like he was there cheering me to the finish. I know he’s proud of me, and I’ll be wearing my saltire pin on the day of the marathon to keep him close.

Support Chelsea - or join Team Incredible next year

You can donate to Chelsea’s London Marathon cause at her JustGiving page.

If Chelsea’s story has left you feeling inspired to take on your own marathon in the coming year, why not browse upcoming events?


Chelsea Zwetsloot

Granddaughter of patient

Chelsea Zwetsloot
Sue Ryder St John's Hospice

Chelsea's beloved Granddad was cared for at Sue Ryder St john's Hospice in Bedfordshire. She is running the London Marathon in his memory.