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Thursday, 31 July 2014

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Friends run 10 half marathons to raise cash for Eden Valley Hospice

A group of friends have handed over more than £11,000 to the Eden Valley Hospice after running 10 half-marathons in 10 months.

Eden hospice runners photo
From left, Emma Forrester, Vicky Kendall, Linzi Donald, Leanne Tickle, Ben Tickle and Ruth Forrester

Sisters Leanne Tickle and Linzi Donald wanted to do something special to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the death of their mum.

Alison Donald was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 2000, and spent the final weeks of her life in the Carlisle hospice and died on May 14, 2003, at the age of 36.

Leanne, of Carlisle, said they came up with the idea in late 2012. “Coming up was the 10-year anniversary so we wanted to do something a bit different and one half-marathon didn’t seem enough. Then we had this idea – why not do 10,” she explained.

Six of them signed up – Leanne, now 26, Linzi, 24, Leanne’s husband Ben Tickle, 28, all from Carlisle, and friends Ruth Forrester, 25, Emma Forrester, 25, both from Calthwaite, and Vicky Kendall, 27, of Low Hesket.

They started off in January last year with a half-marathon in Lancashire then spent the next 10 months travelling to events across the UK, including Edinburgh, Blackpool, Leeds and Liverpool. The last two which they tackled were the Great North Run in Newcastle then finally the Great Cumbrian Run, back in Carlisle.

But even after completing the challenge, the group didn’t stop fundraising. They carried on with a series of events to further boost their already hefty total, and have now handed over £11,600.

“From the start we wondered what our target should be.

“Because it was more than just a normal half-marathon we thought we’d aim for a couple of grand, but we got that quite quickly and decided to extend it to £5,000,” said Leanne, who works for Dalston-based accountancy firm David Allen.

“By the time we finished we had about £4,000 altogether – then it just took off. People who sponsored us at the start were donating again and others who were waiting until we’d finished gave donations.

“Then we decided to do a fundraising night as well, then I did some extra fundraisers through work – cake sales, a dress down day and a sports day. In the end we got £11,600.

“We are all really pleased. We achieved what we set out to do and more, and everyone really got behind us. The hospice is such a great local cause and we exceeded what we thought we could do for them.”

The majority of the group completed all 10 challenges, with some having to miss the odd one due to injury.

During the various runs they battled everything from baking heat to rain, ice and gales.

Leanne said the scale of the challenge proved tough at times, but thinking about the hospice and how it helped their mum got them through.

She added that the most emotional point was at the end of the Cumbrian Run, where family and friends were lined up to cheer them on.

“It wasn’t until I ran into Bitts Park on the final half-marathon that I realised the achievement and everything we have undertaken.

“It was overwhelming to see all the drenched supporters there for us lining the track at the Sheepmount as we came towards the finish line. I felt very emotional remembering the reason we were doing this in the first place was for my mum, and thinking of the money we have all raised which will go to such a worthy cause.”

The group’s hard work and dedication was also recognised when they were named winners at the Cornerstone of the Community Awards, picking up the Bobby Robson Foundation Team Award trophy.

The hospice is looking for fundraisers to take part in this year’s Cumbrian Run. For details call on 01228 817656 or visit www.evhospice.org.uk.

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