Throughout a marathon, runners are consistently cheered on, handed water, and often photographed, but for Troy Austin, he was greeted with questions wondering if he'd lost his child. Last month, Troy ran the Sunshine Coast Marathon in Australia with an empty stroller in his hands in honor of his son T.G., who was delivered stillborn at 27 weeks last year.
While lining up for the race, Troy replied to the question if he'd lost his kid, saying, "Yes that's the point." While it was absolutely not the last time he was asked where his child was, he explained that it was the most fulfilling. "The smile dropped from her face as she came for a hug and apologized," he said. "I smiled because at that moment it was the reaction I was hoping for and almost the last time it occurred throughout the day."
In an emotional Facebook post, the father expressed how much it hurt each time he heard these remarks. "As the run continued the onslaught was relentless, crossing over to the second lap I [hear] on the loud speaker . . . 'here comes old mate and it looks like he lost his kid,' more giggles from the crowd," Troy shared.
He had his two buddies next to him to complete the marathon, and they were the ultimate support system for Troy, "so my bottom lip didn't tremble, as I would try think up quick ways of saying yes, I have lost my kid and I am not getting him back."
Troy ran to raise awareness for stillbirths, and his empty stroller was carrying his son's legacy. "100+ people recognized I had lost my son last weekend, even if they didn't realize it," Troy wrote. "I think the empty pram is here to stay . . . not empty. My son was with us."
He told the Daily Mail that he accomplished his goal. "The thought which helped me, though, was telling myself that every time that phrase was yelled out, they were acknowledging that I lost my son."