Great East Run competition winners revealed
PUBLISHED: 07:00 13 February 2017
A breast cancer survivor, a former 20-stone man and a rugby coach are among the winners of a Great East Run competition.
Archant teamed up with event organisers to find five amateur and beginner runners to take on the challenge, which has replaced the annual Ipswich Half Marathon.
Around 2,500 runners, including world-class athletes, are expected to run the inaugural Great East Run on September 24.
The new course takes in Shotley Peninsula and Ipswich waterfront, boosting the local economy by up to £3 million a year.
The five competition winners are: Sara Spreadbridge (Ipswich), Tony Holland (Ipswich), Paula Shepherd (Ipswich), Jeff Allum (Ipswich) and Faith Archer (Hadleigh). They will receive free VIP entry to the race, special Great Run training kit and Skype training tips with Team GB Olympian Andy Vernon.
Mrs Shepherd was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago but beat the disease after various treatments and three operations.
She will be fundraising for a children’s cancer support group she founded and a planned monthly group at Crown Pools.
She said: “I had always been a person involved in fitness and was someone who ate healthily and I had no history of cancer in my family. Now after treatment I am getting back to normal life and I have found that running has helped me do this.”
Mr Holland, a self-confessed unfit sales worker, has lost three stone, down from 20 stone, after taking up running last year.
He said: “Signing up to a half marathon will be the challenge I need to motivate me.”
Mr Allum wants to set a “good example” to the children he trains at Ipswich YM Rugby Club.
He ran in the Great North Run 15 years ago, but admits: “My levels of running have really trailed off and my age and waistline has increased.
“I have decided to take gentle steps in my running shoes again and the goal of the Great East Run seems like a really good target.”
Mrs Archer, a mother-of-two, said: “I found myself having little time to commit to exercise. Running seemed like the perfect solution and last year I managed to reach 5k.”
Mrs Spreadbridge said: “I am so excited at the prospect of running a half marathon, but I am also very scared.”
To enter the race yourself, see here.