A huge ‘thank you’ to our marathon Superheroes!

Ellie, Pete and Gavin run through the pain and the rain to raise money for Friends and Families of Special Children

2021 Virtual Virgin London Marathon2021 Virtual Virgin London MarathonThey battled torrential downpours and some of the most gruelling hills in Plymouth, but for Ellie Venables, Pete Waumsley and Gavin Priest, there was only one thing on their minds as they completed the 2021 Virtual Virgin London Marathon on 3 October – helping Friends and Families of Special Children.

The trio, representing Plymouth’s three top sport clubs – Albion, City Patriots and Argyle – are raising thousands of pounds to support our work.  Ellie is company secretary at Plymouth Albion rugby club, Pete is a superfan at Plymouth City Patriots basketball club, and Gavin is Plymouth Argyle’s Home Park facilities manager.

2021 Virtual Virgin London Marathon2021 Virtual Virgin London MarathonThey crossed the finish line at Argyle’s Home Park stadium at the end of a course designed by Pete – a veteran of over 30 marathons. The route took in the home grounds of the three clubs and the charity’s Bretonside HQ before heading up to Bickleigh and back. Pete ran the course with Ellie, helping her to a personal best time of four hours and 55 seconds. Gavin, an experienced triathlete of 10 years, followed them home in a time of four hours and 44 minutes – a fantastic achievement, considering he only recently moved to Plymouth having taken up his new role at Argyle and was unfamiliar with the route.

2021 Virtual Virgin London Marathon2021 Virtual Virgin London MarathonPete admits it was tough, but they only had their eyes on the prize: “We got soaked! And then, right at the end at Home Park, the sun came out! The last three or four miles were testing, because of all the hills. But unless you attempt to find a flat bit of Plymouth where you can do two-mile laps, there’s not much you can do about that. And even with the weather and the hills, it went really well. The main thing was to support this fantastic local charity. I got to meet families who benefit from the charity’s work and to listen to their stories, so it really brought home to me, personally, what a great job the charity does.”

“The main thing was to support this fantastic local charity. I got to meet families who benefit from the charity’s work and to listen to their stories, so it really brought home to me, personally, what a great job the charity does.”

This was Ellie’s second official marathon and her third 26.2-miler in all: “It was really nice to have so much support along the way and having my mum and dad driving around the route, it meant so much – the support got me over the line. I’ve always known about the charity,” she added, “but to actually see how it is supporting local families was a real inspiration.”

2021 Virtual Virgin London Marathon2021 Virtual Virgin London MarathonLike Ellie, it was the support along the route – and the backing of Argyle fans – that helped Gavin through: “I don’t mind admitting, that was tough! But I’ve had a lot of support from Argyle supporters, and I’d like to thank them for donating, they’ve been amazing.” Gavin is now looking forward to putting his feet up for a few weeks before starting training for next year’s Nice Ironman event in France.

2021 Virtual Virgin London Marathon2021 Virtual Virgin London MarathonThe run received a lot of media coverage, boosting awareness about our work, as well as funds. Chair of Trustees, Kay O’Shaughnessy, said: “We really cannot thank Pete, Ellie and Gavin enough for their wonderful effort and for choosing to support us. It was an absolute honour and privilege to be out and about in the city, supporting these three amazing superheroes. Despite the horrendous weather and really challenging terrain, they all did an amazing job and smashed the challenge. 

“Hopefully lots of people will support them by following the link on our website and sponsoring them for their terrific achievement. As a charity, we do not currently receive any statutory money, so fundraising events like this are our blood line, and enable us to continue to provide invaluable support and services to our families.”

“As a charity, we do not currently receive any statutory money, so fundraising events like this are our blood line, and enable us to continue to provide invaluable support and services to our families.”

And she added: “We look forward to building even better and stronger links to all three clubs, and together facilitating some fantastic events for our families.”

2021 Virtual Virgin London Marathon2021 Virtual Virgin London Marathon


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