Friday, 10 May 2013

Simsply the best

Almost one year ago, an impossible tragedy shook us to the core.

On a balmy Edinburgh night in May, Steven Sims passed away very suddenly. He had been diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) – an illness that wiped out all the platelets in his blood – no treatment could have saved him. He had complained of feeling unwell on the Tuesday, and died on the Saturday night. He was 23.

The following morning, I ran an arduous PW at the Edinburgh marathon. A couple of friends ran their debuts. We spent the day thinking of Steve and getting sunburnt. You may have read about it already.

The next few days and weeks dragged by, sustained by an enormous outpouring of love for Steven coming from all corners. Tributes came in their hundreds, if not thousands, from every facet of Steven’s life. A statement of condolence from the Scottish Rugby Union came on the same day as a card from a sandwich shop in St Andrews. His funeral was attended by over 600 people, including his enormous family, legions of friends, his two rugby clubs, school, university, and his pipe band. The highlight was a video that captured everything Steven was about: rugby, jokes, music, banter. Being a good guy. Watch it now:

The last year has not been easy for Steven’s family or his friends. But ‘wonderboy’ continues to motivate people – his friends running marathons and starting rugby clubs in his name to raise money for the ITP Support Association and Wooden Spoon, the rugby charity. People are giving him the kind of legacy he deserves. Doing the kind of things he would be impressed by.

So where do I fit into this? And what of Neil and Alex, the two men who summoned the strength to run their first marathons with such horrific news sitting raw and heavily on their shoulders?

We’re going back to the Edinburgh marathon, of course.

This year we are running the marathon relay, our team name – Simsply the best - inspired by Steve’s affection for atrocious puns and a nifty summary of the man himself. Joined by Ben, our Wall Run team mate, we will be busting out the most lung-wrenching, eyeballs-out race we can manage, as a tribute to Steven and a positive means of marking the anniversary of that atrocious day. We might raise a little awareness about ITP, or a few pounds for the charities he has become associated with. It’s not much, but it’s what we do best.

In full flow representing the finest University RFC in the world
It is a cliché to idolise those who die young, but in Steven Sims the terms are justified. Very few people’s memories generate so much positivity out of such devastating tragedy. One friend put it: “Steve has done in passing what he was famous for in life- inspiring everyone around him to be and do better.”

Simsply the best indeed.

Happy running,


P.S. If you feel compelled and enthused to donate some cash in Steven's memory, go for it via the Steven Sims Cavaliers page:

2013 to date: miles run - 425.77, races: 2 and a bit, parkruns: 1, miles biked: 23, metres swum: 1000

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