Sarah races ahead to fund mum's wheels

Grace AshcroftGrace Ashcroft
Grace Ashcroft
A Leyland woman with little running experience stepped up to the challenge of a gruelling ultra marathon - to raise money for her mum's new wheelchair.

Sarah Ashcroft, 31, conquered the Lakeland 50 - described by organisers as “one of the greatest ultra running challenges in Europe, perhaps the world”.

Together with her dad Stuart and best friend Eve Grisdale, of Croston, they took on the race, aiming to raise money for Grace Ashcroft, who suffered a life changing injury 27 years ago.

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They were joined by 16 other members of Kayleigh’s Fitness Run Club, run by a Mawdesley family.

Sarah Ashcroft, 31, conquered the Lakeland 50Sarah Ashcroft, 31, conquered the Lakeland 50
Sarah Ashcroft, 31, conquered the Lakeland 50

The trio completed the event - which involved a 50-mile course climbing over 10,000ft - in 14h 55m and 21h 36m respectively.

Not only did the duo face the tough Lake District terrain, but they also had to contend with unprecedented weather conditions, including thunder, lightning and even hail.

Fortunately their year-long training paid off, and when their legs could no longer carry them they ran with their hearts to the 50-mile finish line cheered on by 20 additional members of the run club, dubbed the “yellow army”.

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Despite Sarah being a novice runner and Eve having done none, both took on the challenge to raise money for Sarah’s mum Grace.

Grace, from Parbold, who has lived in a spinal unit home in Southport since 2008, suffered her accident 27 years ago and the money raised will fund a motorised wheelchair to help her regain some independence.

The accident a head-on collision between Grace’s car and a lorry happened near Sacrisbrick.

Sarah, who was only four at the time, was thrown from the vehicle. Miraculously she escaped serious injury. But she later had a kidney removed and underwent spleen repair as a result of the smash.

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Sarah, who lives off Dunkirk Lane and runs her own cleaning and dog walking business, set up a gofundme page called Grace’s New Wheels to seek support for the challenge.

She explained: “My mum is 63 and has a tetraplegic spinal cord injury and 14 years ago had critically low sodium levels, which has further decreased her independence. “She also has arthritis of the spine and arms. She is intelligent, used to be a teacher, has a wicked sense of humour and is one of the kindest person you will meet.

“Her current chair is a challenge. It is massive, days out pushing it is like a weighted shopping trolley going the wrong way.” A new chair could cost £6,000.

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