Marathon runners training hard despite Coronavirus threat

40,000 people are expected to take part in the London Marathon next month, but as the threat of cancellation looms due to the widespread fear of Coronavirus, thousands of charities could lose valuable fundraising income. Local mental health and wellbeing charity, Trust Links, have two runners registered for the London Marathon and are staying hopeful that the miles and miles of training won’t go to waste. Matt King, Trust Links Chief Executive said “our runners have worked so hard, not just in their training, but in fundraising too, and the pair are hoping to raise £4,000 for Trust Links between them.”

He continued “it would be such a shame if the marathon gets cancelled but we have to take this threat seriously, so we will be behind our runners whatever the outcome. We hope all those that sponsored the pair will recognise their continued efforts and still support them if the event doesn’t go ahead; after all, the actual marathon is just the final 26.2 miles of a much longer, harder journey. The pair have so far covered hundreds of miles in training and deserve recognition for that.” .

Trust Links are just one of the many charities that are planning to take part, but this year’s event is particular meaningful to the charity based in Southend. Jack Hennebry and Sean Hill are planning to take on the 26.2 mile event to raise money for Trust Links because they are both very passionate about the cause.

Together they pledge to raise £4,000 through sponsorship and fundraising events, and help to break the stigma attached to mental health which is particular important to Sean who recently raised £500 with a Quiz Night. The keen runner is taking part in memory of a friend who took his own life last year, a friend that played on his football team and was a big supporter of Trust Links, a friend sorely missed. As Sean remembers his team mate who was so fondly thought of, he recalls “the loss was and continues to be a devastating blow for everyone that knew him”.

With one life lost due to suicide in Southend every month the charity want to reach out and help those most at risk and the money raised from the marathon will help to fill any gaps in funding to ensure support continues despite the ongoing austerity measures and cuts to public funding. Matt added “This consistency is so important when supporting people with ongoing mental health problems and will make the world of difference to the people we support”.

Whilst Sean considers himself a runner and has completed similar events before, Jack is completely new to running. If the event goes ahead it will not only be his first time running London, but his first ever marathon too. When Jack decided he wanted to take on a challenge he knew he wanted to support a small local charity, but it was his family who drew his attention to Trust Links who have four community gardens in and around Southend.

He told us “my Dad, Aunt and Uncle all volunteer for Trust Links, and they have their own allotments too so they appreciate the benefits of therapeutic gardening. My Uncle plays in the Trust Links band and regularly plays at their events, so he said why not keep it in the family and run for Trust Links?”. Jack added “my family plan to come along to watch, and have been supporting me to fundraise. This is not only a personal challenge but a fantastic chance to raise funds for a charity that means a lot to my family, and the faster I run, the more money my friends and family have sponsored me, so I am training hard because I can’t let people down!”

Jack and his family have organised a Quiz Night at Ambleside Social Club on Saturday 4th April (from 6:30pm) and are inviting people to join them for an evening of fun and fundraising. For more details about the quiz, or to sponsor Jack or Sean, click here.