A married couple will be giving everything when they tackle the Virgin London Marathon in April to raise money for Ian Rennie Hospice at Home.
Jason Hawkridge, 43, and his wife Samantha, 38, will be running the race in memory of Jason’s aunt Janice Neal who died of cancer last year after a brave six-month battle against the disease.
Janice, who was in her 60s when she passed away, was cared for by the Ian Rennie nurses before she died, and Jason says he and Samantha were inspired to run the marathon to give something back to them.
“The Ian Rennie nurses helped my aunt in her final days, supporting the family and allowing her to pass away in the comfort of her own home rather than in a hospice,” said Jason.
“My mum Jean was with her for a big majority of this time and was so taken by the Ian Rennie nurses. Nothing was ever too much trouble and they showed compassion towards my aunt and the rest of the family when she passed away. Lots of people know about the Ian Rennie hospice but the at home team get very little recognition for the work they do and this is why we want to raise money for them.”
Jason’s uncle John Jales – Janice’s brother – has joined forces with the Gazette to compile an eight-week training plan for the 2014 Berkhamsted Half Marathon, and he has also been helping Jason and Samantha’s training.
“We have training plans that were written by John for us and we have been following these as much as possible,” said Jason. “Sometimes it is difficult to find time after a full day’s work but the long runs at the weekends have to be done so we are in the right condition physically to get round the 26 miles.
“It’s great that we have the support of our running club, the Dacorum & Tring AC Road Runners. They give support and coaching along the way and we can share experiences as there are nine of us taking on London this year.”
Jason and Sam – who live in Woodhall Farm in Hemel Hempstead – are unified in their fundraising efforts, but Jason says the couple will not be running the race together as a team.
“Sam has been running for about four years now and has completed two marathons already – one for the Brainwave Trust in 2011 and the second in 2012 for the Toby Hawkridge Trust – our nephew who we raised money for to send him to America for an operation to help him walk.
“I have completed some half marathons before but have never run further than this so it is a big challenge for me and I have been training since early September.
“We will not be running together on the day – Sam is a bit of a speed queen whereas I’m more of a plodder!”
As well as running the marathon, Jason and Samantha will be holding a jumble sale at Potten End Village Hall from 11am till 2pm on March 1 – with all money raised going straight to the charity.
“We are looking for more jumble so people can contact me on 07957 407890 and I can collect anything they can donate,” said Jason. “I am also looking at the use of a Transit van from the Friday night until the Saturday late afternoon – if there is a company or person who could donate the use of one that would be greatly appreciated.”
On top of this, the couple will be hosting a race night and disco at The Plough in Potten End on April 4 to raise more money.
You can donate to the couple’s marathon cause at www.virginmoneygiving.com/samanthahawkridge