We would like to thank Jemma Kearsley who ran the Great North Run to raise money for RoSPA. She kindly agreed to write us a blog – please have a read. She’s a real inspiration, and we are extremely grateful to her.
On Sunday 18th September at five past two in the afternoon I completed the Great North Run. I raised £670 (to date) for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. I am not a runner at heart but after watching the post event interviews a couple of years ago I was inspired to run in memory of my cousin and raise money for RoSPA.
My cousin Sophie Underwood died tragically in a road traffic accident at the age of 18 in November 2007. She had been travelling as a passenger in a car when a series of unfortunate events led to the car bring involved in a three car collision. At Sophie’s funeral we decided to support RoSPA, a charity that works towards the prevention of accidents such as this.
Over the last six months I trained for the half marathon, gradually extending the distances I ran. This started out well until 10 days before the race when I sustained an injury in my right calf and ankle. Luckily I managed to get a physio appointment and required a deep tissue massage which in itself was excruciating! Even after two sessions the physio was unsure if I would be able to complete the 13.1 miles.
In the week leading up to the race I was very nervous and worried but just kept remembering who and what I was doing it for.
On race day I made my way to the Central Motorway in Newcastle where the race was starting. There were over 54,000 competitors and thousands more spectators, the atmosphere was electric!
I ran with my friend who was running to raise money for St Martin’s Children’s Hospice in Leeds. We set off and really enjoyed the first 5 miles, the crowds were cheering and the sun was shining. However, when we hit the 6 mile mark the heavens opened and my ankle really started to hurt. The next 4 miles towards South Shields were really difficult, but by the time we got to the last mile along the sea front the sun had come back, the Red Arrows flew overhead and the crowds were really encouraging.
When I finally crossed the finish line I was extremely relieved and emotional. My family and friends were waiting to congratulate me and carry me home!
Over the next few hours and days the run took its toll on my body. My legs seized up and my ankle was very painful but I had a huge sense of achievement.
People have been so generous sponsoring me as they know how much both my family and I went through back in November 2007.
Road safety is something I try to promote within my role as a Year 2 Primary School Teacher. We have road safety lessons termly and teach the children ways to stay safe in PSHCE lessons. I think the work RoSPA does is amazing and essential to prevent more families losing loved ones as we did our lovely Sophie.