Three members of the Swansea-based Paul Popham Running Club have gone the extra mile – 26.2 miles to be precise – to raise just over £1,000 for the Paul Popham Fund, Renal Support Wales. The money raised from the run will go towards the kidney charity’s aim to raise £132,000 for the Children’s Kidney Centre, based at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.
The three runners took on the marathon challenge specifically to ensure the charity’s fundraising activities could continue during this period when all large, organised race events – a vital source of fundraising income for the charity – continue to be prohibited due to the restrictions which remain in place because of COVID-19.
Fiona Jones, Mike Jones, and Anna Powell completed the 26.2-mile course which started in Llanrhidian, North Gower, and proceeded through Penclawdd, Gowerton, Walter Road, Alexander Road, Wind Street, the Liberty Stadium, Fabian Way and SA1, before finishing at Verdi’s in Mumbles.
The hardy trio were overwhelmed by the support and encouragement they received on route, despite less than perfect weather conditions.
Fiona Jones, fundraiser, and member of the Paul Popham Running Club, said:
“With continuing lockdowns and events being cancelled, my husband, who runs Boss It Fitness, convinced me that I could run my first marathon around the streets of Swansea, and raise money for charities that have lost out massively on the much-needed support.
“As a member of Paul Popham Running Club, I knew the Paul Popham Fund would be one of my chosen charities, I am happy to say that all the pain and hard work really paid off and between myself and my husband we managed to raise £359.00 towards this fantastic charity. I want to say a special thanks to Joanne Popham for setting up the running club which got me back into the love of running, a massive shout out to all the support runners and crew that made the experience one that I will never forget and of course Anna Powell and Mike Jones who also undertook the challenge.”
Mike Jones, fundraiser, Paul Popham Club member and MD at Boss It Fitness, said:
“As a fitness professional and a keen runner, I understand the benefits of ‘having a goal’ to aim for when training. The void left by the current lack of races has not only impacted on my personal goals, it has also had an impact on charities ability to raise money. Both myself and my wife Fiona have been a member of the Paul Popham Running Club for a number of years, and I wanted to combine my passion for fitness and run a Virtual Marathon around Swansea to support a charity close to my heart.
“I am over the moon with the results! Not only did Anna smash a personal best and my wife Fiona complete her first ever marathon, but we also managed to collectively raise over £1000 for the Paul Popham fund along the way!”
Anna Powell, fundraising runner and Children and Youth Community Engagement Officer at the Paul Popham Fund, said:
“I would like to say a huge thank you to my fellow runners, Mike and Fiona Jones, for involving me in this fantastic opportunity to fundraise for a charity very close to my heart. It was a decision that took me 10 seconds to make because I have been a member of the Paul Popham Running Club for over two and a half years, and I have recently joined the charity as a Children and Youth Community Engagement Officer.
“I was truly overwhelmed by the support we received from the charity, sponsors, family and friends in the lead up, during and at the end of the marathon in particularly difficult times. The charity is close to my heart for a variety of reasons it provides all kidney patients a better quality of life and helps them believe in themselves. Furthermore, I wanted to raise vital funds towards the refurbishment of the Children’s Kidney Centre because it will make such a difference to the lives of children in Wales with kidney disease. I am looking forward to supporting the charity with other fundraising activities throughout the year, but the marathons may be on hold for a couple of months!”
The Paul Popham Running Club was founded in February 2016, with the aim of helping all people in Swansea to learn to run to improve their health and wellbeing. The club recruited people who wanted to run, but felt it was beyond them, then taught them to run from zero to a 5K over an 8-week period.
Since the very first 8-week program, most athletes have stayed with the club, and it now has six groups to cater for all abilities.