Born to Run: Hospice physiotherapist Miriam and friend Bev to do Virtual London Marathon for Wirral Hospice St John’s

#healthcare #hospicehero #wirralhospice  #physiotherapy #caring #wellbeing  #fun  #thankyou

Hospice Physio Miriam – with hospice colleagues wishing her well

If you’ve done, or can imagine doing, a London Marathon in normal times, you’ll have trained hard, loaded up with carbs, seen all the publicity build as the day approaches and organised your thoughts about how the day will pan out for you.

There would normally be thousands of people gathering ready to run, jog, trot, plod and, maybe, even walk for a myriad of good causes. Many others would line the streets to cheer on their friends, family and all the other runners around the course.

A huge gathering of humanity and goodwill spurs the runners on and helps them to get ‘over the line’.

However, on Sunday 4th October, and far away from the Capital, thousands of people will still be completing gruelling runs for their chosen charities, just without the extra impetus provided by the crowd.

So, think about doing that 26.2 miles when only you, and one friend, cheered off by a small gathering of your social bubble, are relying on true grit and self-belief to get you around?

Well, that’s what Wirral Hospice St John’s Physio, Miriam Lemon and her friend, Bev Tasker, will be doing on Sunday 4th October, 2020.

Yes, they’re in the 40th London Marathon after more places were made available to allow people to run the distance closer to home on a route of their own choosing (the London course will not be open!)

Miriam and Bev’s route – taking in the Wirral Coastline

We trust Bev will be a great running mate (Miriam says so) and with a number of family, friends and hospice colleagues volunteering to complete sections of the run alongside the pair of marathoners, socially distanced of course, we’re sure they’ll complete the distance with flying colours.

We took the opportunity to find out a little bit more about Miriam, her family and her life at Wirral Hospice St John’s. Before I spoke to her I asked one or two of her colleagues for their opinion on her and her chances:

Her whole family are like the sporting family from the card game Happy Families. She’ll smash it, we call them The Incredibles.

Miriam laughs when I tell her this and with typical humility she says, “I’m the least incredible.”

Daughter, Imogen, 13, is an accomplished short course swimmer and has competed in the Welsh National Championships, while son, Toby, 11, is an all-rounder enjoying football but with his coaches at the Deeside Amateur Athletics Club nurturing a talent for running at all distances from sprinting to 5k (under 21 minutes already!). Incredible!

It turns out husband, Dave (pictured above running with Toby), has completed 5 of the 6 ‘World Marathon’ series in Berlin, Boston, Chicago, London, New York and has only Tokyo to go! Incredible!

The Incredibles on a family hike: L-R, Miriam, Toby, Imogen, Dave and their dog, Lexi

For her part Miriam claims she’s not really a runner. Her sports are Netball, she once starred for Anglesey’s Valley Vixens, and she rowed, most notably for the renowned Worcester Rowing Club.

So why is she running this year?

Miriam had challenged herself that in the year she turns 40 she would complete the ‘Chester Triple’, an annual three event challenge encompassing an organised 10km run, followed by a half marathon and either a ‘metric marathon’, 26km, (which Miriam had signed up for) or a full traditional marathon later in the year.

However, having duly completed the 10k on 8th March, the other events were cancelled in the light of COVID 19. Miriam decided to complete the half on her own in Lockdown and now the (Virtual) London Marathon will round off her own personal triple in 2020. Incredible!

At the hospice Miriam is one of the physiotherapists in our Patient and Family Services team.

She qualified from Keele University early in the new millennium. From there she has worked in the NHS in Worcestershire, moved around with Dave who is in the RAF, taking in Cyprus between 2008 and 2011, via Anglesey and Surrey, where she was able to apply her physiotherapy skills to people in intensive care and to support acute medicine.

Miriam’s now been at Wirral Hospice St John’s for 3 years and explains how physiotherapy fits into the overall support and care we offer patients,

“Our job is to maximise people’s potential, building strength, balance and mobility. We want patients to be as independent as possible, helping them with breathlessness, symptom control, fatigue and anxiety. We’ve found that many patients can benefit from things like acupuncture, help with flexibility and by setting achievable goals people really manage well with their symptoms.”

On her colleagues at the hospice Miriam is heartfelt,

“They really are the best people I could have ever chosen to work with.”

With only 3 weeks before the Marathon all of her colleagues, friends and family will be spurring Miriam (and friend Bev) on. She’s created a Just Giving page at to raise funds towards Wirral Hospice St John’s specialist care and support services

It won’t be easy but there is a word for what she’ll feel when she reaches the finishing line on Sunday 4th October.

Now, What is it again?

Oh YES……… Incredible!

Have The Incredibles discovered the fountain of youth?

Our Head of Clinical Services @judiebbrell on final hurdle with Masters Degree in Leadership #andersonprog #HospiceCareWeek

wirral_hospice_judi_ebbrellI passed!

Friday was the dreaded ‘D’ day when I received the notification that I had passed my dissertation – the final hurdle in the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson MSC in Healthcare Leadership #andersonprog. The Elizabeth Garrett Anderson programme is one of the NHS Leadership Academy’s courses developed out of the realisation post-Francis Report of the need to develop a new type of leadership in the NHS. I am very proud of the fact that I have been one of the pioneering first cohort of students to complete the programme.

My personal leadership journey started in the NHS and when I moved to Wirral Hospice St John’s part way through. I questioned whether the course was still relevant and would equip me to lead within the hospice environment. Through reflection, one of the central components of the course, I soon came to the conclusion that the course content and skills I was developing would certainly help within the ever-changing and complex hospice world.

The programme was based around the following themes:

  • Ensuring that patients have good quality and safe experiences
  • Understanding how I, as a leader, make a difference to improving patient experience
  • Enabling others to give their best to improve the patient experience
  • Embedding behaviours that improve the patient experience
  • Making person-centred coordinated care happen
  • Making decisions based upon the best available evidence to improve the patient experience
  • Creating value for patients and the public

All of which are highly relevant to my work in the hospice. Even the ‘Golden Threads’ of quality, patient experience and equality and diversity that ran through the programme seem to fit perfectly with hospice care.

The skills and knowledge gained during the two years will equip me to develop services in the hospice that are high quality, truly meet the needs of our patients and families and ensure we are valuing and embracing the diversity of the community that we serve. Looking to the future my aim is to develop services in new ways in order maximise the use of our limited resource in partnership with others and ensure more people in Wirral are supported to live well and die with dignity in the pace of their choice where possible.

The final event of the course included day of celebration run by the cohort of students #egafinalevent1. Notably the day included two inspirational speakers whose words (for very different reasons!) will stay with me for a long time! Roy Lilly @RoyLilley described good leadership as be about being visible, having vision and empowering innovation and Tommy Whitelaw @tommyNtour urged us all to be the one who makes the difference.

Author: Judi Ebbrell, Head of Clinical Services
Twitter: @judiebbrell
Or contact Judi via Maxine Ashton, Secretary to Consultants / Head of Clinical Services on  0151 334 2778 /

%d bloggers like this: