Peterborough getting ready for the Great Eastern Run 2009

Have your say

PETERBOROUGH is gearing up for this year's Great Eastern Run. The half marathon is now in its fourth year and takes place on Sunday.

PETERBOROUGH is gearing up for this year's Great Eastern Run. The half marathon is now in its fourth year and takes place on Sunday.Features editor JULIA OGDEN finds out more about the event and talks to some of the people taking part...

THOUSANDS of people across the area have been busy getting fit and healthy ready for the 2009 Great Eastern Run.

Now, just over a week away, the participants are beginning to reduce the amount of training in preparation for the actual race.

Many of the runners taking part will be raising money for charities and causes close to their hearts.

No more so than the staff at St Ives printers, in Fengate. The team of 16 will be running in memory of their colleague Ian Ebbs, who was killed in a tragic accident at the print works almost a year ago. Ian was just 43 years old and left a wife and two children.

His workmates have pledged to run the half marathon to raise money for Cancer Research, a charity chosen by Ian's widow Jackie.

Press room manager at St Ives Nigel Taylor said: "The first anniversary of Ian's death is on October 7, so we thought it was poignant that the run takes place just a few days later.

"We wanted to do something significant in Ian's memory, to show the respect he had among his colleagues. We have had T-shirts printed with his nickname 'Ebbo' on the front to run in on the day.

"The run itself will be an emotional day for all involved. We will run with a mix of pride and sadness.

"The team has been in training and although some are struggling with injuries we are hoping to complete the course in between one hour 30 minutes and two hours 30 minutes."

Ian's children, Matthew (16) and Zoe (14), will also be taking part in the fun run.

Another runner who will be taking part in the run for a cancer charity is Julie Wright, from Crowland.

Julie (37) lost her mother, Nicolene, to cancer 12 years ago and has decided to take part in the run to raise money for Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough.

She has also roped in her brother-in-law, Dave Williams – and her sisters, Annette Williams, Helen Wright, Elizabeth Abbis, and nephews and nieces, Ben, Jade and Naomi Wheat, and Nathan Williams will be taking part in the 4km fun run.

Julie said: "I ran the half marathon last year while the rest of my family watched on and supported me. When I crossed the finish line, my sister, Liz, congratulated me and was so inspired she said there and then that she would run next year (I didn't have much faith in what she said!)

"My brother-in-law also said that he would run and also get his ex army mates to do it too, again I didn't hold out much hope.

"But at Christmas I bought my three sisters a pair of trainers each with the intention of 'getting the family fit in 2009', as none of them did any fitness except a little line dancing.

"By the end of January, Liz had joined her local gym; Helen followed and joined her local gym and then Annette joined Fitness First, in Peterborough.

"They have all entered the Great Eastern Fun Run, along with my two nieces and two nephews and my cousin's husband.

"My brother-in-law has been putting in the miles and will be running the half marathon, for the Help4Heroes charity, along with a couple of his army mates. I will be running to raise money for the Sue Ryder Hospice at Thorpe Hall, who cared for my mum in her final weeks.

"I am so proud of my family for showing the determination and keeping their promise to run this year, it means a lot to me and I hope that they continue maintaining their fitness long after October. Who knows, I may be able to talk them into actually competing in the half marathon next year."

Jenny Mogford (50), from Parnwell, is another person who decided that 2009 was the year she was going to get fit.

"In January this year, I moved into my second half century of life and decided to do something at 50 I couldn't do at 15," she said.

"My challenge was to run my first ever half marathon – the Great Eastern Run.

On my way to reaching my goal, I have lost more than three and a half stone in weight, dropping from a size 20 to a size 12 dress size.

"Although I have been eating sensibly it wasn't until this year when I started to do some more serious mileage and the pounds began to drop off. I really can't remember the last time I felt so well and full of energy, nor the last time I was a size 12!"

Jenny will be running for Spinal Research charity as she has a friend who suffered a spinal injury more than 20 years ago.

Running has also changed the life of Andy Moat, who works at Peterborough raceway.

"Only a year ago I was living of lager, fried food and rarely exercised," the 21-year-old from Gunthorpe said.

"In fact the only exercise I got was my almost daily walk to the pub for my fill of beer and the stumble back home.

"I had always considered my self a bit of a 'looker' and was quite good with the ladies, until one day a girl turned her nose up and snorted "whatever podgy!" I was shocked to say the least; it was like someone punching me in the gut.

"I confided in my close friend who turned out to be a secret runner, he invited me along for a short run, 'It's OK mate, we will cover like two miles, shouldn't be too hard going' he said. I was quietly confident as I walked to his house in my old school running trainers, but it soon became clear, after only a short, extremely slow jog that I was awfully out of shape.

"When we finally finished, I realised it had taken me 25 minutes to run just over two miles, I was tired and felt sick, but there was something else, a strong feeling of accomplishment.

"After getting home and showering, a new a seed had been planted in my mind. From then on and for the last year I have been running, slowly and gradually at first, no more the seven to eight miles a week, but it got gradually easier.

"I believe running to be the purist form of achievement, simply put, the more you put into it, the more you get out of it.

"I'm currently running 40 to 50 miles a week, never less than 150 to 200 miles a month, and I feel an intense feeling of pride in what I have achieved in a year."

History of the race

THE Great Eastern Run returned to the racing calendar in 2006, following a 10-year break and has been a sensational success ever since.

Last year, about 4,450 runners raced through the streets of Peterborough, which were lined by thousands of spectators cheering everyone on.

The Perkins Great Eastern Run is a not for profit event which allows participants to raise funds for the charity of their choice.

Anyone still wishing to enter the race must register online by Sunday.

Schoolchildren get their own race

FOR the first time, Peterborough schools have been invited to take part in a 4km fun run staged alongside the Great Eastern Run.

Children can choose to raise money for a charity of their choice or the fun run's nominated charity, Anna's Hope.

Anna's Hope is a local charity which supports children and young people with brain tumours.

Entrants could also be in the running for a prize to give their school a boost.

The Schools' Challenge offers prizes to the school which enters the most pupils into the run, and the school which raises the most sponsorship money for Anna's Hope.

Anna's Hope was set up by parents, Rob and Carole Hughes, who live near Stamford. They lost their daughter, Anna, to a brain tumour when she was just three-years-old. Since then, they have worked to set up their charity which supports local children and young people suffering from brain tumours by providing rehabilitation and funding research into a cure.