‘Dad will be with me’ says London Marathon runner supporting Samaritans

A woman running the TCS London Marathon on the anniversary of her father’s death is raising money for the “life-saving” work of Samaritans.

April 21 will mark 15 years since Kate Rouse lost her father Pete Bristow who died by suicide.

“He is definitely my inspiration to run this particular marathon,” she told the PA news agency.

Kate Rouse enjoyed the scenery while training during a recent holiday in Instow, Devon (Handout/PA)
Kate Rouse enjoyed the scenery while training during a recent holiday in Instow, Devon (Handout/PA)

“I do believe my dad will be with me.”

“He was just a loving, proud family man. You always knew he was proud of you.”

Mrs Rouse, 49, said her father, a quantity surveyor from Lincoln who ran his own business, “loved his job”, enjoyed food, beer and golf, and loved his dog, Max.

“He was a very proud 60-year-old man,” she said.

Mrs Rouse said she did not realise how her father was feeling before his death but now believes she would be better able to spot the signs.

“The first port of call would be the Samaritans. He needed someone to talk to who wasn’t his family, wasn’t his friends and wasn’t going to judge him,” she said.

Pete Bristow with his dog Max (Handout/PA)
Pete Bristow with his dog Max (Handout/PA)

“I know he didn’t want to die but it felt like that was the only option because he couldn’t cope with the chaos in his head.”

She added: “Everybody goes through times when they struggle, when they find life hard.

“You can’t be 100% happy all the time.

“I would have reassured him that it’s normal.”

Her father’s death had a profound effect on Mrs Rouse: “I looked at my life as safe and secure until that moment.

“I didn’t have death by suicide in my knowledge and understanding.

“It was something you read about and happened to other people.

“All of a sudden it’s in your world and in your life tapestry.”

Mrs Rouse, who is married with a 13-year-old son, added: “Fifteen years seems a really long time and I don’t know if that’s gone fast or slow. My life has changed completely, I’m a mum now.”

Bereavement counselling made her feel able to offload what her body and mind could not cope with and gave her back some peace, she said.

“What do you need in your tool kit to get you to that level of acceptance?

“When people die by suicide, the journey is very different. The level of acceptance can depend. It’s clearly very personal.”

She added: “It’s hard work some days.

“When you go for a run, everything makes sense again.”

Mrs Rouse, who lives in Lincoln, ran the London Marathon in 2022 for children’s charity Barnardo’s and hopes to beat her previous time of four hours and 34 minutes.

She will turn 50 in September, and said: “Everyone wants to do something that’s a challenge in that year and celebrate it.”

The former primary school headteacher now works as education director for the Infinity Academies Trust in Lincolnshire and said information about Samaritans has been shared across the trust’s schools.

She said being a headteacher taught her that “there is no problem that can’t be solved”.

Samaritans is a “wonderful charity,” she added: “They are literally there for anybody at any time.

“Knowing there’s that support out there, there’s a chance, there’s hope for everybody.

“They are there for whatever part of the journey you are on.

“For people for whom it’s that desperate call, it’s life-saving.

“The power of talking to somebody. You have opened up that doorway for someone to get into the space with you.

“The power of being listened to, it must be like a release.”

Samaritans responds to a call for help every 10 seconds.

Suicidal feelings were expressed during almost a quarter of calls for help where emotional support was provided.

Samaritans is the TCS London Marathon’s charity of the year for 2024.

The marathon, which is the world’s biggest annual one day fundraising event, raised £63 million for charities in 2023, taking the total raised since its first race in 1981 to more than £1.2 billion.

– To sponsor Mrs Rouse, visit:https://2024tcslondonmarathon.enthuse.com/pf/kate-rouse

– Anyone can contact Samaritans, free, 24/7, on 116 123, email jo@samaritans.org or visit www.samaritans.org