Steve Jones and his family are taking on the epic challenge of running 150km collectively over the course of just one day.
Steve has been a volunteer Trustee of a national medical charity – Narcolepsy UK – for several years. His interest stems from the fact that his younger daughter suffers from narcolepsy, a neurological disorder with around 30,000 sufferers in the UK. The most obvious symptom is an irresistible need to sleep several times each day. If you can imagine a feeling of constant sleep deprivation and jet-lag, you will have some idea of what it feels like to have narcolepsy, and you might begin to appreciate the difficulties faced by people with narcolepsy in the worlds of education, employment and personal relationships.
Narcolepsy UK is a small charity (with the equivalent of only two full-time paid staff) and relies entirely on donations to keep going. Times are hard for the charity sector in the present economic climate, with charitable trusts that historically have been supporters of small charities such as ours having little income to distribute.
Narcolepsy UK therefore desperately needs funds, and Steve and his family are doing what they can to help. On April 23rd, Steve's son Lewis will be running this year’s London Marathon in support of the charity, and in a moment of paternal solidarity that he might come to regret, Steve had an idea:
"what if I – in my 60th year and a decade after I thought I’d hung up my running shoes for good - could also run a marathon (my first) on the same day that Lewis battles his way through the crowds in London?"
A quick internet search found the Longhorn marathon in Sherwood Forest.
Then things really got out of hand! The Longhorn is not only a marathon, there's also a half-marathon, a 10k and a 5k, all taking place at the same time. “I could do the half”, said Diana (Lewis’ Mum). “So could I”, added Alison (older sister). “And I could do the 10k”, suggested Bridget (younger sister). Not to be left out, 4-year-old Anna (niece) chipped in that she could run the 5k with her daddy Dave (brother-in-law) and that he could carry her little sister Madeleine on his back.
So there it is: no fewer than eight family members in a collective fundraising challenge involving the best part of 150km of pain and suffering, all to help Narcolepsy UK continue its fantastic work.
They are making good progress towards a fundraising target of £4000. If you would like to help them get there (and hopefully beyond!), please visit their Virgin Money Giving page.