Leo joins the Great Eastern Runners

Great Eastern fun runner  Leo Waites (9) from Fengate. When younger he was unable to walk. EMN-150510-214521009

Great Eastern fun runner Leo Waites (9) from Fengate. When younger he was unable to walk. EMN-150510-214521009

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A brave schoolboy who fought a battle to be able to walk unaided will take a giant leap forward this weekend when he takes part in the Great Eastern Fun Run.

Nine-year-old Leo Waites will take part in the Anna’s Hope Fun Run on Sunday, just five years after undergoing surgery to help him walk.

Leo, who suffers from cerebral palsy, will run round the course with his mum, Joanne Holland (28).

She said: “I am so proud of Leo. I am so proud he wanted to do it. He came home from school one day and said he really wanted to do it - he has never said he wanted to go running before, so it is a big thing.”

Leo was able to have surgery in America in 2010 after a Peterborough Telegraph campaign helped raise £46,000.

Since then Leo has been making great strides to get stronger ahead of the race.

Great Eastern fun runner  Leo Waites (9) from Fengate. When younger he was unable to walk. EMN-150510-214542009

Great Eastern fun runner Leo Waites (9) from Fengate. When younger he was unable to walk. EMN-150510-214542009

Joanne, of Hartley Avenue, Fengate, said: “He doesn’t run too much - if he does not run correctly, he could damage his hips or his knees.

“I always try and run with him, and we have been running round the estate.

“I don’t think he will have the strength to get all the way round the course, but he will give it a good go.

“I have taken a back seat and let him do some things now - like climbing trees. He is like any other boy his age.”

Great Eastern fun runner  Leo Waites (9) from Fengate. When younger he was unable to walk. EMN-150510-214615009

Great Eastern fun runner Leo Waites (9) from Fengate. When younger he was unable to walk. EMN-150510-214615009

Leo still needs regular physio sessions, and is using the run to help raise funds to pay for them.

Joanne said: “He is getting stronger and stronger. You have to keep having physio though, or you will deteriorate.

“He has good days and bad days - but now he has more good days than bad.

“I do worry when it gets to winter, as the cold is not good for him, but the progress he has made has been incredible.

“If he had not had the surgery he would not be where he is. Now he can walk upstairs and get into the bath - without the surgery, I think I would still have to carry him up the stairs. I think we would have had to move to a bungalow.

“We have lots of family coming along to support us on Sunday.

“We will have his wheelchair with blue balloons on it in case he needs it.

“He has raised £300 himself to do the run, which will pay for a 12 week physiotherapy course.

“We are still looking to raise money to pay for the therapy. It is so important for him.”

Residents can support Leo by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/HelpLeoWalk2014 or https://www.facebook.com/Helpingleowalk

Both the half marathon and the Anna’s Hope fun run will start and finish on The Embankment. The 5km fun run starts at 10am on Sunday October 11 and the half marathon follows at 10.30am.

The following roads will be closed between 9.30am and 10.45am: Rivergate, Bourges Boulevard (southbound) from the Queensgate roundabout, Priestgate, Cathedral Square, Long Causeway and Broadway.

In general, all other roads along the route will be closed from 9.30am until 2pm. However, as the last runner passes each mile point, that road junction will reopen.

The mile points and approximate reopening times are:

1 mile - 11am - Broadway to Northminster

2 mile - 11.15am - Park Road to Park Crescent

3 mile - 11.30am - Fulbridge Road to Foxdale

4 mile - 11.45am - Paston Ridings to Witham Way

5 mile - 12pm - Corfe Avenue to Rockingham Grove

6 mile - 12.15pm - Lincoln Road to Staverton Road

7 mile - 12.30pm - Davids Lane to Hodgson Avenue

8 mile - 12.45pm - Fulbridge Road to Aster Drive

9 mile - 1pm - Donaldson Drive to Pratt Avenue

10 mile - 1.15pm - Fulbridge Road to Tennyson Road

11 mile - 1.30pm - Dogsthorpe Road to Park Road

12 mile - 1.45pm - Eastfield Road to Boongate

13 mile - 2pm - Embankment - Finish