Back in February, we spoke to Frankie Seaman about a very special wedding dress she was designing. It was for Jackie Scully to wear as she ran this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon to raise money for the charities who helped her during her recovery from cancer. After the race we caught up with the runaway bride herself to hear about the biggest of big days:
I wouldn’t change a single thing about my wedding day. I got married on the Cutty Sark at dawn and then went off to run the London Marathon with my new husband, my cousin and my dad. It was the best day of my life.
I wasn’t always sure it would be, though. I’ve spent ten months battling an injury. In fact, as I was walking to the start line I was hobbling. I thought to myself, ‘What the hell am I doing?’ But I knew that, even if I crawled, I would get around the track. I might not get a medal – you need to make it in under eight hours to get one of those – but I would make it over the finish line. But I ran the whole way, carried by the elation of the day. It was like a 26-mile street party. Everybody on the course seemed to know who we were. It was totally and utterly incredible. Last year I ran a marathon and I had seven supporters positioned around the course and I saw about three of them. This year, I'm not joking, every other person was cheering us on. People were shouting "Jackie, how are you doing?" I’d spend the next few feet trying to work out where I knew them from, then realising I didn’t know them at all. It was crazy. Runners were congratulating us, as were the support crews. I just spent six hours saying, ‘thank you’. It was so humbling.
The entire course was a highlight, but a few moments stick in my mind. Greenwich, obviously, because it was where we got married and we live there. Tower Bridge was a cacophony of noise. It was incredible. Then at Embankment a woman came up to me and said, ‘I've read about your journey, you kept me going when I thought I couldn't train any more. Now every time I pass you, because I keep overtaking you and you overtaking me, my knees suddenly don't hurt anymore.’ I was, and still am, completely and utterly overwhelmed if I'm honest.
The dress Frankie designed for me held up incredibly well. I ran the marathon last year in running gear and I was covered in grazes and lines where my clothes met my skin. This year, nothing. I’ve never been known for my sense of style, but going around the course people were saying ‘I love your dress. Where did you get it from?’ I was like, ‘Really? You want style advice? Now?’
I was weeping as I crossed the line because Willow – one of the charities I was running for, which helped me a lot when I was recovering from cancer – had their last cheer-point just before Buckingham Palace. There were people there who are still fighting against incredible odds and after I saw them I was in bits. I was awash with tears all the way down Birdcage Walk.
We've done what we set out to do, which was gift our wedding back to charity in epic style. With Gift Aid we raised over £23,000. Our target was £15,000. It’s beyond my wildest dreams. We smashed everything, and I'm still alive. It's just incredible.
I keep forgetting we’re only halfway through it. For our honeymoon we’re trekking the Great Wall of China to raise more money for charity. I thought if I could run the marathon, I can do a trek, but apparently it’s quite hard work. So I think it's going to be a bit of a rude awakening but, you know, we'll reach the end.
If you ever need reassurance that there are good people in the world, go look at the London Marathon. The runners are incredible, the spectators are incredible, the spirit is incredible. The world has had a lot of problems in the past year, but what a brilliant demonstration of hope on the streets of London. It's about making ordinary people realise they can be extraordinary.