Dad of baby James completes gruelling 40-mile run in his memory

James Elliss-Belsom in the bath chewing on a white toothbrush

James Elliss-Belsom died in 2012 after becoming seriously ill - Credit: The Belsom Family

The father of a baby who tragically died aged 14 months has completed an ultramarathon as a 'fitting tribute' for his late son.

Alex Belsom took on the gruelling challenge on New Year's Day  — which would have been his son James Elliss-Belsom's 10th birthday — to raise money for the Colchester & Ipswich Hospitals Charity Children's Appeal.

Three siblings after completing a 40-mile marathon

Alex (centre) with sister Natasha and brother Alistair after completing the 40-mile challenge - Credit: Paige Morris

The infant became unwell in 2012 and was taken to Ipswich Hospital, where his parents were told to give him pain relief and return home.

However when his condition worsened he was diagnosed with necrotising fasciitis and rushed to Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, but sadly could not be saved.

It was just one week later that mother Sophie gave birth to the couple's second child.

Mr Belsom found the loss of James devastating and said: "It has taken me a long time to come to terms with not being able to see him grow up and to see his personality develop.

"I take some comfort from the memories I have from the first 14 months of his life when I was with him.

"He was always a cheerful and happy boy with a real zest for life, he would always brighten up my day."

James Elliss-Belsom smiling as a baby

James was just 14 months old when he passed away - Credit: The Belsom Family

Most Read

On Friday, the 15-mile loop of the marathon challenge started in Felixstowe road, the Suffolk Showground, Kesgrave, Martlesham, then around family areas for added support before finishing at the cemetery where James is buried.

The event was inspired by the 10th anniversary of James' birth date of January 1 2011, which Mr Belsom reached by  1+1+1+1x10=40.

He was supported on his run by brother Alistair and sister Natasha, as well as his own father who contributed a 10 mile run.

Mr Belsom added:  "It went really well, we were trying to time it so we all finished together, so my sister started about an hour before us.

"We all managed to finish it, we all finished within 20 minutes or so of each other, all followed the same course, nobody had to walk or stop, no injuries, went perfectly well, to be honest.

"There was plenty of support on the streets, had a few people turn up and run with us as well. It was very cold, but there wasn't any rain.

"It felt completely amazing to go through this and see my sister and my brother and my family so happy. To raise so much money for charity, it felt like a really fitting tribute to James."

A total of £4,322 has now been raised — smashing the original target of £2,000 — and will go towards building a £2.5million new-look children’s department.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter