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Team Save Your Skin Runs the Beaches of Normandy on D-Day 2019

Guest post by Rosemary Westie, ultra marathon runner and member of Team Save Your Skin, who is traveling to France in June 2019 to run the race of a lifetime. 

On June 6th, 1944 hundreds of thousands of soldiers stormed the beaches of Normandy to begin the drive that would eventually break the German occupation of Europe.  Many of those soldiers paid the ultimate sacrifice.

I have been fortunate to wear my Save Your Skin Jersey in many amazing races around the world, but none more meaningful than the D-Day 44 Challenge I will be running this June 6th on the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

This amazing race hugs the Normandy Coast line, and has us running over sand dunes and pebble beaches, through marsh lands and beautiful villages.  The race begins in Pointe Du Hoc, high on a cliff overlooking the English Channel where in 1944, 200 elite Rangers climbed the chalk cliff on a mission to find and destroy the large battery guns firing at the troops arriving on the beaches.  200 men began the climb, and 30 men survived.

From there we will run across the beaches, Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno and Sword, all still scattered with memorials and reminders of the life changing battle that took place there so many years ago.  Ultimately, after running along the beautiful coastline we will finish our run at Pegasus Bridge.  It was within meters of here that Horsa Gliders were deployed in the evening of June 5th, to secure the bridge to aid in the landing force which would be arriving in the morning at Sword Beach.

It is fitting that the official finish line is just across the bridge, at the Café Gondree, the first house to be liberated in WW11.  Here, Ms Gondree, who inherited the café from her father and remembers the relief and joy they felt when the first British commandos knocked on their door, will be pouring champagne for all of the participants taking part in the D-Day44 Challenge.

On this day there are 2 events, the 44 mile run, which I will be participating in, and a 22 mile walk, which will stretch from Juno Beach to Pegasus Bridge.  I am really pleased that my husband Tom, a long time supporter of our Save Your Skin Foundation, will be taking on the 22 mile walk.

Tom and I have both been very lucky in our lives, surrounded by good family and friends, and more importantly good health.  Not everyone we know has been so fortunate.

When my sister Kath was diagnosed with late stage melanoma back in 2003, it was shattering.  We were petrified that we would lose her, but miracles do happen, and although it has been an uphill battle she is still with us today.  Kath has always been an amazing person, very thoughtful, giving and strong.  Strong mentally and physically.  It is these qualities that have kept her going through her battle with melanoma,  and these same qualities that she now calls upon to help anyone else struggling with this cruel form of cancer through our, Save Your Skin Foundation.

I understand that running 44 miles will be a challenge, but I am also humbled every single day by people dealing with real challenges, challenges they did not choose.  Like taking on a life threatening disease, or bravely running onto a beach, miles from home into enemy fire, sacrificing everything for the safety of others.

So friends, at this time I am reaching out to ask for a small donation. Through this event we are hoping to raise some money for our Save Your Skin Foundation, which provides emotional and financial support to those dealing with melanoma.

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