A mum of three from Castleford, who only took up running last year, is taking part in the Great North Run this Sunday (September 11) to raise funds for Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (CLDF).
Simone Gowthorpe, 34, admits she had never liked the idea of running but was persuaded last year to join her children in a fundraising campaign to ‘Run 20 miles in February’ organised by Emma Butterfield, whose daughter, Ada, has a rare liver disease.
“Ada is in the same class as my son Theo,” explains Simone. “So I knew all about her amazing energy, despite her liver condition, and I also knew how CLDF supports families like hers. Despite my dislike of running, I really felt I had to join in to support such a worthy cause.”
Although Simone only took part because she felt she ought to, she was shocked to discover by the end of the month that she actually enjoyed running.
“I’d always been very cynical when I heard people extol the benefits of running,” she says. “And it was tough to start with, but I gradually realised that it did make me feel better. So when the month ended, I carried on! Now, if I can’t run I really miss it, I feel so much fitter, I’ve lost three stone, and it’s great for my mental health too.”
So earlier this year when Emma asked Simone if she’d join a team of runners taking part in the Great North Run to raise £500 each for CLDF, she decided to accept the challenge.
“I know it will be tough, but Ada has been through some very tough times and may well be facing a liver transplant one day. If she can do all that and keep a smile on her face then I can certainly do this. I’m close to my fundraising target, I’ve been training hard and although I’m not aiming for a particular time, I am determined to finish to do Ada and myself proud!”
Rebecca Cooper, Chief Executive of Children’s Liver Disease Foundation commented: “CLDF is the only UK charity dedicated to fighting all childhood liver diseases, by providing information and emotional support, funds for research and a voice for all those affected. In order to do this however, we rely on voluntary donations, so we are delighted and so grateful to hear that Simone has chosen to do the Great North Run for us. To go from being a non-runner to taking on a half-marathon is a real achievement and we wish her all the best for the day.”
You can support Simone’s Great North Run challenge by going to Emma Butterfield is fundraising for Children’s Liver Disease Foundation (justgiving.com)