Blacksticks 10 Road Race runners rally around little Jacob Willett
The sun was shining and smiles were gleaming as hundreds took to the streets around Beacon Fell to raise vital funds for ill infant Jacob Willett.
A total of 173 laced up their running shoes for the 2018 Blacksticks 10k Road Race, starting and finishing at Whitechapel Village Hall on what was a sunny Sunday morning overlooking the pictureqesue fell.
Organisers of the race, the Whitechapel Primary School PTFA, use the race to raise money for school activities and its multiuse games area.
But this year the PTFA branched out to help Red Rose Road Runners member Mark Willett.
Mark and wife Ness, from Cottam, are fund-raising for Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (Ward 84) and Ronald McDonald House Manchester who, after their 18-month-old son Jacob was diagnosed with cancer, have been central in caring for the toddler.
Katy Beswick, from the PTFA, said: “The Red Rose Road Runners have supported us for many years and their runner Mark’s son is really poorly so we thought we would raise his profile at the same time and help raise some money too.
“We are all parents and some might have been through something similar; all the parents put their support behind it.”
Mark finished 18th in the race which saw £200 donated to the fund supporting Jacob and the hospital with £1 of entry put aside.
Mark said: “It’s always a really well organised race and this year we were really touched with the added donations.
“It’s another sign of how general people are. They’ve just been fantastic.”
The total raised on the JustGiving pages in support of Jacob now stands at more than £10,000.
Mark said: “We got the diagnosis in March so to hit nearly £11,000 already is amazing.”
Winner of the 10k race was Robert Affleck of Preston Harriers with a time of 34 minutes and 53 seconds followed by Ross Campbell (Barrow and Furness Striders) in 35 minutes and 19 seconds and Gareth Booth (Horwich RMI) in 36 minutes and 25 seconds.
The first woman to cross the line was Emma Sharples of Swinton RC, who came 20th with a time of 44 minutes and 20 seconds.
Prizes were given to the first five men and women and commemorative Blacksticks Blue Cheese from Shay Lane-based Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses was given to all.
Donate at www.justgiving.com/teams/jacobsjoin