Scotty’s Little Soldiers’ May Marathon challenge returns for seventh year running

Lynn-based charity Scotty Little Soldiers has announced the return of its annual running challenge, the May Marathon.

Every year since 2017, the Bereaved Armed Force children’s charity has asked participants to sign up to complete the marathon distance of 26.2 miles over the course of May.

That could mean walking, running, wheeling or absolutely anything else you can think of – any and all methods are welcome. The distance can be covered in as many trips as required; the only rule is that it must start and finish within the month.

Charity founder Nikki Scott
Charity founder Nikki Scott

Every year, the marathon spurs old and new supporters alike to don their running shoes in honour of bereaved Forces children and young people.

Sebastian Hill, 13, has completed the May Marathon every year since he joined the charity in 2017. His dad, Royal Navy chaplain Reverend John Hill MBE, died of a heart attack in 2010.

“I love Scotty’s,” Sebastian said. “I love everything about it, from the Christmas parties to the vouchers they send me on Remembrance Day and my dad’s anniversaries. I’ve made so many friends through Scotty’s and I know now that I’m not the only one who has lost their dad and that’s really comforting.”

Scotty member Sebastian Hill with mascot Cpl Scotty
Scotty member Sebastian Hill with mascot Cpl Scotty

It’s not just Scotty’s beneficiaries that get involved, either. In 2020, Lynn News reporter Jenny Beake took part in the challenge while dressed up as Wonder Woman, and in 2021 her and Annie Kelly completed the challenge in the form of a chicken and an egg. The pair raised a great sum of money and turned more than a few heads.

“Death is always hard to deal with, especially for a young person losing a parent,” said Jenny Beake. “The armed forces protect us all, and the death of those fallen heroes is far reaching for their families. I choose to run the May Marathon in support of Scotty’s to show there are people willing to help make a difference and to prove life can be fun again.”

For many, 26.2 miles are challenging enough, but more experienced runners are free to push themselves even harder should they want to. Brendan Holmes set the bar high in 2017 when he took to the marathon wearing flip flops. He also set himself the extra task of running an additional 74 miles – completing a whopping 100 miles by the end of the month.

Brendan said: “I truly believe that the work Scotty’s does has a huge benefit to its members. It gives the children a real sense of community and lets them know that there are people out there who care.”

Scotty’s Little Soldiers is a charity dedicated to supporting children and young people (from birth to 25 years) who have experienced the death of a parent who served in the British Armed Forces.

Inspired by the experience of West Norfolk Army widow Nikki Scott, following the death of her husband Corporal Lee Scott in Afghanistan in 2009, the charity, which was set up in 2010, provides support and guidance to hundreds of bereaved military children and young people throughout their childhood.

Services offered to Scotty’s members include access to child bereavement support, guidance to parents and carers, personal education and learning assistance (including grants), and fun activities such as holiday respite breaks and group events. These are all designed to remind the children and young people supported by Scotty’s that they are not alone.

Scotty’s founder Nikki said: “The support we receive for the May Marathon every year is incredible and I love seeing our members and supporters getting stuck in. I’ve taken part myself, so I know how hard it can be.

“But the struggle I felt running those 26 miles is nothing compared to what our members go through. Every penny counts, and the funds our supporters raise during the May Marathon goes a long way in helping us continue to offer support to bereaved military children and young people.”

Register for the 2023 May Marathon challenge at