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We are all so proud of Hazel for completing the Oxford half marathon last month. Hazel took on this momentous challenge after taking up running during the pandemic while taking her estranged husband to court.

Hazel generously shared how she came to start running, and why she chose to support Reducing the Risk:

“Running gave me my freedom…. during the pandemic, I had 3 children at home, I was taking my estranged husband to court.

I had to provide for my children and keep myself functioning (yep, some days it didn’t always happen, there is a day that we all refer to as ‘that Wednesday’)!

Once a week, I forced myself out to Aldi to do the grocery shopping. I was able to work from home for a while, but each week it got harder to go out each day – I ended up not going out more and more because I was scared in case he saw me.

Until one day, I had a sudden urge to walk out the front door and go for a run, it was literally that moment that got me back out, it saved me.

Running gives me three things, freedom, strength & empowerment. This is how I feel when I run. I find myself and am reminded when I need it that no matter how hard things get – I can do this and I am strong, but ultimately – I am free.


We are incredibly thankful that Hazel chose to fundraise for Reducing the Risk, raising a magnificent £215.

I would love to be able to help someone else that may be currently trapped, to help them realise that they too can feel strong, empowered and free.

It may not be running that does that, it may be something else, but I wish I knew how much help was out there – if you only just stand up, speak out, and get help.

If I can inspire or help one other, then it has a knock-on effect doesn’t it – a domino effect to helping more. ‘They’ are only powerful whilst it’s secret, expose the secret – expose them, suddenly their power goes. It’s unbelievable how simple it actually is, if only we could see that and believe that when we are trapped.

I am still on my journey, and currently, the control he tries is through finances and children. Sometimes it gets me down but, he will never have control of me and my mind again – nobody will. Others have the right to feel free too. That is why I will be proudly running with Reducing the Risk in my heart around Oxford on 17th October.

If you visit Helen’s fundraising page, you will see her sporting some eye-catching socks. Bright orange and emblazoned with “Embrace Kindness” in pink across the heel. We couldn’t help but ask the story behind the socks. 

Oh – and the socks….. they were gifted to me by someone who very unexpectedly came into my life at the most strangest of times and has taught me what equality, respect and love actually is. He supports me in all I do and even ran The London Marathon on Sunday [3rd October 2021] for The 401 Foundation which he has only got to know about since meeting me! (he’s also a running coach and the one who got me round Bristol)!!

If you are able to sponsor Hazel you can do so here!

Our huge thanks to Hazel for talking to us about her journey so far. Our conversation with Hazel has been edited for clarity and brevity.