When the Bupa Great Manchester Run gets underway on Sunday 26 May, Merseyside Primary School teacher Jackie Mottershead will be competing the 10km course in memory of her late father Derek Gittens, while at the same time raising funds for national charity The British Polio Fellowship.
Jackie’s dad lived with the effects of Polio all his life and when she decided she would be running for charity, The British Polio Fellowship seemed the natural choice, both as a fitting tribute to her dad, but also to thank the charity for the support her family has received from them over the years.
“Dad sadly died three years ago but I remember the lovely family holiday we had when I was five donated to us by The British Polio Fellowship,” explained Jackie. “When I decided to start running for charity, it seemed a fitting thing to do it for my dad and in gratitude for everything The British Polio Fellowship did for him and my family.”
Since 2003, the Great Manchester Run has been establishing itself as one of Britain’s leading 10k events, with over 40,000 people due to be taking part and all live on the BBC. When Jackie crosses the finish line on Deansgate, she is aiming to be on the way to raising over £1,000 for The British Polio Fellowship by the end of this year’s running season.
The Manchester run will be 45 year old Jackie’s first competitive race but with this run under her belt, she will be turning her attention to the Diva Devas Sprint Triathlon. Jackie started training nearly a year ago, losing three stones in weight in the process. Her efforts are being sponsored by colleagues from her school at Lymm in Cheshire, with two running with her on the day. Jackie also does voluntary work for Leigh Centurions Rugby League Club who will also be backing her bid for fundraising and personal achievement.
“My trainer Bob Beswick plays for the Centurions, so I’m sure he will be supporting me to,” said Jackie. “Bob is a personal trainer as well as rugby professional and I feel fitter than I’ve ever been in my life.”
“Although I reached my target weight some time ago, I wanted to keep training and reach my goals, as I never expected to be able to run this way when I first started training. Fundraising for The British Polio Fellowship while completing my own ambitions seemed a worthy thing to do.”
In an ocean of good causes, Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) can all too easily be forgotten. While the fight to eradicate Polio worldwide is being led by the Gates Foundation, it is easy to forget the 120,000 people still living with the condition and its effects in the UK. After competing in the Manchester Race, Jackie will turn her attentions to the Woman’s only Deva Divas sprint Triathlon at Chester Meadows on the 21 July, again raising money for The British Polio Fellowship.
“We are extremely grateful for Jackie’s fundraising efforts and wish her and everyone else running for the British Polio Fellowship this year every success,” said Ted Hill MBE, CEO of the British Polio Fellowship. “With so many worthy causes out there, we really do appreciate all those who pull on their running shoes and sponsorship forms on our behalf. Without them, we would not be able to offer the ongoing support we do to those living with the effects of Polio and PPS in Britain today.”
Anyone wishing to support Jackie’s fund raising efforts can do so by visiting her just giving page at: www.justgiving.com/Jackie-Mottershead
The British Polio Fellowship can be contacted free on 0800 043 1935 by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.britishpolio.org.uk