A Weston Hospicecare employee, who organises major fundraising events for the charity, will run the 10km Christmas cracker on Sunday 9 December in aid of the charity.
The hospice’s event fundraiser Kelsey Dehaney (pictured second in from the left, lower) has been taking part in Weston Athletics Club’s penguin training programme over the last few weeks in preparation to take on the challenge.
With little running experience, Kelsey decided to take part after being convinced by members of the running club to take part.
She said: “My only previous running experience came from school when they made us run in physical education. I am very much a beginner and previously I have really struggled to get into running.
“In doing this training programme, I have surprised myself how well I am doing, it makes a huge difference running with a big group of people at a steady pace and I feel each week I am improving.
“It was a very scary thought when I first signed up to take part in the race and the training programme. We have been gradually increasing our distance and the 10km now seems doable.
“My goal is to do the whole 10km without having to slow down to walk, I just want to complete the whole thing running.”
Kelsey felt obliged to take on the challenge this year after persistent friendly pressure from those who organise the event at Weston Athletics Club.
She said: “After seeing, and playing a volunteer marshal role at, the Christmas cracker for the past 3 years I have seen what a fantastic and festive event it is. After Weston Athletics Club asked me each year to take part I thought this is finally the year to take on the training programme to take in such a brilliant event and of course raise money for the hospice.
“This is the first time I am personally raising money for the hospice rather than playing the role of an event’s organiser and I just want to raise as much as I can to support the wonderful care that I am exposed to on a daily basis.
“It is really nice to be a hospice event participant and to see things from the other side rather than being the event’s organiser. I really enjoy taking part in other events and it will be nice not having the stress of an organiser and being able to enjoy the event and raise money for an amazing charity which relies on the support from the community it serves.”
It is expected 2,500 people will run the Christmas cracker taking place at Weston seafront on Sunday 9 December with many raising money for Weston Hospicecare.
The hospice relies on retail avenues, donations and fundraising efforts to support 80% of its £4.2million running costs every year, the remaining 20% is funded by the NHS.