Despite the heaviest rain in three months the 200 runners who signed up for TEAMJESS turned out on the embankment in Peterborough on the 13th October.
With the incredible momentum that has been gained over the last 9 months, numbers for the run continued to increase right up until the night before. The 200th runner was Wendy Turner who travelled in from Toronto, Canada to run with her family including David and Alexa Hall in Mill View, Helpston.
Wendy made the Half Marathon team 50 strong competing over the 13.1mile course – A fantastic achievement as the previous largest team was 40 runners. There were a few seasoned half marathon runners as well as many first timers including Jess’ mum Hayley who finished quicker than her 2hours 30min target.
The Fun run team had an amazing turnout of children from Helpston School and the surrounding areas. 78 of the 150 runners were children with the youngest being Hugo Grant at 2 years old. Jess was ensured a full Howard family affair completing it with her sister Eva and her two grandmas, one of whom was dressed as a clown for the occasion.
In total over 1600 people ran in the fun run with TEAMJESS accounting for nearly 10% of them. The sea of royal blue shirts on the day was quite emotional for many taking part. “The incredible support shown around the course from the people of Peterborough was quite amazing” said one of the runners, “all we could hear was ‘COME ON TEAMJESS’ “.
The Half marathon had nearly 5,300 entrants. The team’s fifty strong runners included Wendy from Canada, James Taylor from Lichfield, John-Paul Hamilton and Sam Hemmings up from London plus Kate Hurl from Bedford. They all travelled in to join friends and family on the 13.1 mile course.
Many personal bests were beaten on the day with Barry Webb being the first in, in a time of 1h28m26sec in 275th place. Commitment to the cause was underlined by one runner beating his personal best time at 1h47m before receiving the attentions of St Johns Ambulance for exhaustion. Glad to report a full recovery for William Burgess.
Hayley, Jess’ mum, said “As a family we have been overwhelmed by the support shown to our little girl. To have so many people come together in such horrendous weather but still keep a smile on their faces was quite incredible – we are choked by the support”.
Since the last Helpston Tribune issue Jess has had her referral to Bristol as the first step towards the operation. If the team determine Jess as a good candidate she will be invited back for a full assessment which will determine the timescales and location of the operation – we await the news and will keep you posted.
The culmination of the fundraising will be at the team Celebration party on the 19th October held at the Torpel Manor field Visitor centre. However, as the race started on the 13th the total stood at £28,348 – a magnificent achievement by all those involved. “we still have a lot of sponsor forms to get in from the runners” said Ali Peat one of the organisers, “We are confident that we will achieve this lifechanging sum of money”.
Ali Continued “The target figure is for the focussed two years associated with Jess’ operation and post op care. There isn’t however an ‘end of treatment’ for Jess as she will continue to require physio and equipment for the next few years to ensure she maximises the benefit of the operation. If a greater sum of money is raised than the £30k then this will be placed in Trust to ensure that the generosity of the supporters is reflected in her long term care”.
The Team fund total has been boosted in recent weeks by a huge number of donations from individuals and companies. William Burgess and David Frost of ProduceWorld who ran in the Half Marathon have raised over £6,000 between them. Equalling their drive and determination have been the children from the village. Izzy, Hamish and Elspeth Robertson set up a stall at the end of their drive and sold their old bikes and scooters making over £38 to add to their family tally.
Kally Singh of Hegarty Solicitors, said “I cannot believe the incredible support that this has gained. We are privileged to be part of it”. Hegarty Solicitors came on board back in February as the front of shirt sponsor giving the team a huge boost. They were joined by PC Howard, Palletways and CDL to ensure that all the costs of shirts, website and printing were covered guaranteeing every pound raised by the runners went directly to Jess’ fund and not towards admin activities.
TeamJess at the Great Eastern Run in 2013 will live long in the memory of the village. The fund total will be reported on in the next issue – all the details of this incredible community team can be seen on the website. www.teamjess.org