Nine-year-old Tayden Matthews is what you could call a bit of a hero. This year will be his fifth time taking part in the Hospice Mini Marathon! Yep, for half his life, he’s been an avid partaker in our annual running event for children, and why? ‘Because it means I can help people who aren’t as fortunate as me’ he said.
Tayden’s grandad, Terrence, was supported by Greenwich & Bexley Community Hospice to die at home when Tayden was just four. ‘When my grandad passed away the hospice helped him,’ Tayden told us, ‘I still remember him. He was really fun.’
Tayden must take after his grandad on the fun stakes, as he loves nothing more than getting dressed up and putting a smile on everyone’s faces. During lockdown he donned lots of different outfits and his mum, Laura, sent photos to loved ones when they couldn’t see each other.
Lockdown didn’t stop Tayden from taking part in the Hospice Mini Marathon, this time running round Plumstead Common to raise money for this hospice. In fact, he said, he liked it because ‘there wasn’t many people which meant I could go faster.’
In his first few years of taking part the young athlete would run with his dad, Terry, but last year insisted on taking the challenge by himself. ‘I did it in 20 minutes – dad was going too slow before,’ he said. His victory was even sweeter when he won the best costume competition as he dressed up as a surgeon! He said his reason for this was to ‘raise awareness of the NHS and show how important it is.’
‘I think that first of all running the Hospice Mini Marathon was about grandad, but then I think about all the other people who need support from the hospice and all the people that use the hospice.’
When asked if he’d recommend the event to other children he said: ‘Yes, do it. It’s really fun and you support loads of people. And I really like the medal you get at the end too.’
Tayden, we think you’re an absolute star and we can’t wait to see what costume you come in this year!
If you’d like to learn more or sign up to our Mini Marathon, happening in Royal Greenwich Park on Sunday 14 May, take a look here.