Mum and son first to complete ‘Virtual’ charity fun run

Mum and son first to complete ‘Virtual’ charity fun run
Mum and son first to complete ‘Virtual’ charity fun run

Mum and son first to complete ‘Virtual’ charity fun run

A mother and son from Newcastle-under-Lyme, are the first participants to complete a ‘Virtual’ charity fun run.

Joanne Sawyer, aged 48, and her 12-year-old son, Luke, completed the ‘Virtual’ Colour Runner on Saturday 4th April, 2020, after Joanne had initially signed up for the actual run which, due to the coronavirus crisis, has been re-scheduled for Saturday 22nd August, 2020.

Caudwell Children, the national charity that provides practical and emotional support to disabled children and their families, launched Colour Runner in 2015.

Colour Runner sees participants blasted with dry corn based paints as they make their way around either a 5km or 2km course.

But with the country effectively in lockdown, with people instructed to only leave their homes under a list of ‘very limited purposes’, bosses at the charity believe that their ‘Virtual’ Colour Runner could play an active part in keeping people fit during the crisis.

Joanne, a secretary Endon High School, in Stoke-on-Trent, agreed with the event organisers and signed up for the ‘Virtual’ run. As she explained: “I took part in Colour Runner a couple of years ago in Central Forest Park and I really enjoyed it.

“I’d signed up to do it again this year and like many others I was left disappointed when I heard, understandably, that it had been pushed back.

“So when I saw in the local press that you could take part in a ‘Virtual’ Colour Runner I was delighted, and immediately registered for the event.”

Joanne, like most people, appreciates that both children and adults could feel isolated during the current health crisis, and she wanted to give herself and her son some challenges and goals in terms of exercise outside the house.“I encouraged Luke to run with me but in all honesty I didn’t have to convince him too much,” said Joanne, who is married and also has two daughters aged 22 and 20.

Luke, a pupil at Chesterton Sorts Community College, prefers running to team sports and Joanne says he was more than happy to join her on the run. As she continued: “Luke likes kicking a ball about in the back garden but he’s much more into individual sports.

“Doing something positive together was really enjoyable and as a mother with three children I really appreciate the work that Caudwell Children does, so I was glad that we could support the charity.”

Kate Sherwin, from Caudwell Children, is delighted by the pairs success. As she explained: “Joanne, and Luke, are a great example to us all during the current health crisis.

“We all need to remain active and healthy and she and her son are doing just that.

“Unbelievably, Joanne didn’t take up running until five years ago and she told me that she wasn’t sporty at school.

“Apparently she used to do exercises in the back garden and attend the occasional Zumba class, but she hadn’t done anything other than that.

“It was a work colleague who convinced her to join her on a local run in Liverpool, that kick-started her interest in the sport.

“By using their one form of exercise a day to run, keep fit, and raise over £50 for Caudwell Children is brilliant, not just for them, but also for disabled children throughout the region.”

The former Brownhills High School pupil says the pairs colourful appearance didn’t raise many eyebrows on their 2km run around their local estate. As she concluded: “As you’d expect it was pretty quiet and there weren’t many people around.

“But despite it being windy we enjoyed it and it was as much fun as my longest run of 10km in 2018.”

The ‘Virtual’ Colour Runner is part of Caudwell Children’s #Team20 celebrations to mark the 20th anniversary of the charity’s foundation.

Throughout 2020 Caudwell Children is encouraging people to engage with the charity in a number of ways, like taking part in a fundraising event, volunteering for the charity, or raising awareness of the charity’s services, in order to join their #Team20 campaign.

The ‘Virtual’ Colour Runner allows participants to get involved at a time and place that is suitable to them.

Adults who register for the ‘Virtual’ Colour Runner will be sent a free Colour Runner T-Shirt, whilst children who sign up will receive a free pair of coloured sunglasses to wear during their virtual run. All those who register will be sent two bags of paint to douse themselves with.

Participants will then have until a week after the actual run to provide evidence that they have completed their ‘Virtual’ Colour Runner.

“Once we have received a picture or film footage from their phone, showing them in their running kit covered in paint, along with a screenshot of their route, we’ll send them their unique Colour Runner 2020 medal,” continued Kate. “It’s a must have, collectable, piece of memorabilia to commemorate your run, and one that you’ll be able to treasure forever.”

Kate says Colour Runner is built around having fun rather than breaking record times. As she concluded: “Times aren’t recorded and participants can run, walk, hope, or skip around their 5km or 2km course at a pace suitable for them.

“We’re all extremely excited about where our virtual runners will come from but you can rest assured that whether it be Lossiemouth, in the north of Scotland, Pontypridd, in south Wales, or Cirencester in the English Cotswolds, we’d love to see people painting their community red, green, yellow, pink or purple to support disabled children and celebrate Caudwell Children’s 20th Anniversary.

“But remember that wherever you choose to run please, at all times, adhere to the government advice on social distancing and remain at least six feet apart from people you encounter.”

Entry to the virtual 5km and 2km run or walk is £15 per person.

The charity is asking those who register for the event to set themselves a £50 fundraising target.

Caudwell Children will provide each runner with a fundraising pack, containing an A-Z of fundraising ideas, to help them smash their target.

For further information and to register for the event visit the web page here.

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