On Sunday 2nd March, four people from Andover took part in 31st Mizuno Reading Half Marathon – Natalie Wade, Sarah Rees Webbe, James Dunn and Mike Collinson.
Having never run anything like this before and only having made the decision to take part after hearing it advertised on the Radio, this gave them just 9 weeks post-Christmas to fully train.
This was the same time the storms hit the UK making any form of training outside a challenge with downpours of rain, strong winds and extremely wet roads and paths to run on.
Their reason for running was down to one little person, Rocco Collinson. You may have read about him in a previous post, but if not here is his story.
On 25th November 2012 Mike’s beautiful baby boy Rocco Collinson was born and everything seemed to be fine. But after a week Rocco became very poorly and Mike and Leah (Rocco’s Mum) were told that little Rocco may have some of the worst kinds of Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) which would cut his life very short. None of them had ever heard of this terrifying awful condition.
But then a miracle happened! Rocco, the little fighter, started to recover and puzzled even the best doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. After a few very difficult months a diagnosis was finally made of Circinate Epidermolysis Bullosa Simplex, which is an extremely rare version of this very rare disease (he was only the second baby in 10 years to be born with this condition) which luckily meant that Mike and Leah’s beautiful boy would live a normal happy life. However some families are not so lucky and unfortunately receive devastating news that they have to live with.
Mike, James and Natalie ran in aid of DEBRA the national charity working on behalf of people in the UK with the genetic skin blistering condition EB, and for all those other children with EB, with the hope of one day finding a cure to a disease which can be very cruel and no child should have to suffer like this. DEBRA receives no government funding and relies on the generosity of the public. All their sponsorship will help raise funds to help them carry out their vital work, improving lives and giving hope.
Sarah ran for Great Ormond Street Hospital, who played a huge part in the diagnosis of EB for Rocco and who treat all the other 150,000 children there every year.
The Sunday itself was quite cold and windy but with bursts of sunshine and the rain holding off it was all looking to be a great race.
The runners said that the atmosphere in Reading on the day of the Half Marathon was fantastic with more than 14,000 runners taking part, quoted as their biggest event to date! Runners came from all directions, with champion elites starting the race to all the others there running to beat a personal best time, raising awareness for their chosen charities as well as run in memory of loved ones.
Natalie, Sarah, Mike and James said “The atmosphere throughout the whole race was such a great experience, supporters who we didn’t know would cheer and shout supporting comments as you ran past really helping push you to reach that finish line.”
“The hardest mile was 11 to 12 when we were really out in the open with the wind in our faces and the rain starting, we could see they Madjeski Stadium ahead of us and knew we had to just keep going. Seeing that marking for reaching mile 12 was a fantastic moment knowing that it was just 1 mile to go. ”
“Running into the Madjeski Stadium to reach the finishing line was just the best feeling, the cheers from the crowd were incredible and there was such a buzz of excitement. Seeing peoples races as they also finished around you with huge smiles and emotions running high it made every mile ran, both in training and that day, worth it.”
The Official Race Times:
- Natalie: 2 hours 22 mins
- Sarah: 2 hours 37 mins
- James: 2 hours 22 mins
- Mike: 2 hours 18 minutes
To top off all the hard work the support from friends, family, work colleagues and even the general public in terms of donations has been incredible. In total the following was raised:
- For DERBA: £2,265
- For Great Ormand Street – £514
Their fundraising pages still remain open: