Hastings running group to take on 440-mile relay challenge in aid of cancer charity

Members of Heart & Sole
Members of Heart & Sole

Twelve runners from a Hastings-based running group will be taking on the relay of all relays in February 2019 in aid of the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity.

The challenge, which has never been completed before, will run between February 23 and 26, 2019, and will see the Heart & Sole Running Group runners cover 440 miles over the space of three and a half days. They will each complete two legs each day of between three and six miles in a continuous relay with a 12-hour break in between each leg. The route, which will take them through Kent, London, Surrey, Hampshire, Dorset and West Sussex before finishing back in Hastings will also include one of the 12 – Kelly Bird – running past the Royal Marsden Hospital itself.

Kelly and her dad, who will also be taking part

Kelly and her dad, who will also be taking part

Kelly, who has been training with Heart & Sole for over a year, has been receiving treatment from the Royal Marsden for Stage 2 breast cancer, which she was diagnosed with in March 2017. The 34-year-old wife and mother to four young children was given the all clear just before Christmas 2017. However, she is still undergoing treatment from the hospital and thanks to the impact they have had on her life, she is determined to give something back.

To date she has raised more than £16,500 for them.

Organiser of this ground-breaking event and run leader for Heart & Sole, Lee Cote, said: “I have always wanted to take on and organise a charity challenge. Like many people I have had my own experiences with cancer. I lost my dad to bowel cancer when he was only 56 years old and my sister to Non Hodgkins Lymphoma at the age of 39. In addition to this, my father-in-law has battled three types of cancer so far and most recently, my brother-in-law lost his nephew at just aged 22, also to cancer. He had received his treatment at the Royal Marsden.

“When I met Kelly Bird her story immediately struck a chord with me. Kelly is such an amazing, vibrant young woman who is full of energy. She has a family of her own and thanks to the Royal Marsden, she is still a part of their lives.

“I feel privileged to know her and this challenge seemed the perfect way to not only highlight the work they do but to also raise vital funds in order that they can continue.”

In order to make this event happen, Heart & Sole needs the support of local businesses. In addition to this, they are also appealing to the local fitness community to help them too.

Lee said: “In order for this event to really take off we now need the support of local business and the fitness community. What we are looking for are businesses and companies to sponsor us so that we can provide food, drink, medical supplies and all the other things needed to put this event on.

“We are also looking to the fitness community to get on board and help us. The fitness community are always very supportive of one another and we would like groups both in Hastings and along the route to come and run some of the legs with our team. The challenge for the runners will be both mental and physical so support and encouragement along the way is vital.”

To get involved or to find out more about the event, you can visit their website http://www.heartandsolerunning.co.uk/home.

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