Two footballing teammates will be taking part in AJ Bell’s 2023 Great South Run to raise awareness and funds for their club, Sands United FC Solent.
The club is about more than just football however. It is a unique refuge for dads and other bereaved family members, who have suffered the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death.
42-year-old Nick Lang, from Waterlooville, founded Sands United FC Solent in 2019 – three years after his own daughter, Evalyn, was stillborn. He will be running alongside teammate Joe Maharg (32), who joined the club in 2020, after the loss of his son, Solomon.
The club aims to create a safe space where its players can come together through football and enter a community of mutual support and understanding. Nick explains why this is so important:
“This for too long has been a very taboo subject in society and for dads and male family members, a subject that they have often found too hard to discuss with peers. In many cases, this leads to mental health issues, relationship breakdowns and forms of social anxieties.”
Nick and Joe will be running with empty prams to further raise awareness regarding baby loss.
“Ultimately we are doing this to try and help families know that they do not need to suffer the loss of a baby alone and that there is a huge support network here waiting to help if we can.”
Whilst Nick describes himself as “not a natural runner”, he has been training regularly and can now comfortably run 5/6 miles. He has already taken part twice before and went to spectate last year.
“Having attended last year as a spectator, I really loved the atmosphere and last year’s runners really inspired me to do it again, so I signed up as soon as I got home that evening”
The AJ Bell Great South Run is probably the world’s favourite 10-miler, with inspiring history, salty air and glorious sea views guaranteed. Portsmouth’s supporters will keep your spirits and motivation up the whole way round, with blaring music, cheers, high fives, fist bumps all part of the incredible AJ Bell Great South Run experience. Learn more and sign up here.