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Emotional challenge as 91 people take on Great East Run in memory of Ruth Mehmed

PUBLISHED: 18:36 24 September 2017 | UPDATED: 18:36 24 September 2017

Danny Mehmed, daughter Lydia and the Runners For Ruth team who took part in the first Simplyhealth Great East Run in Ipswich. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

Danny Mehmed, daughter Lydia and the Runners For Ruth team who took part in the first Simplyhealth Great East Run in Ipswich. Picture: ANDY ABBOTT

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Among the crowd taking part in Sunday’s Great East Run was a special team of 91 white-vested fundraisers.

Danny and Lydia Mehmed. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNDanny and Lydia Mehmed. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The huge group of family, friends, and friends of friends, were running in memory of Ruth Mehmed, who died after fighting a brain tumour, at the age of 34, in December 2014.

The ‘Running for Ruth’ team began the following year, when a large crowd assembled to join Ruth’s husband, Danny, for the Ipswich Half Marathon – raising thousands for a permanent memorial, and to donate to Brain Tumour Research.

The run had initially been to raise awareness for funding of brain tumour research and for a bench in Christchurch Park, where Ruth’s daughter, Lydia, could feel closer to her mum.

But the campaign ended up raising around £18,500 – with 52 friends and family, from as far afield as New York and Kidderminster, running for Ruth.

Ruth Mehmed with daughter LydiaRuth Mehmed with daughter Lydia

Danny and his brother, James, then decided to take on the Great East Run for the cause, which had already gathered £15,500 before the race began.

The team of runners and supporters included Ruth’s daughter, Lydia, her mother, father and stepparents.

Ruth’s family explained that brain cancer was among the least understood – but most underfunded – of all cancers.

Mr Mehmed said the pain of losing Ruth would never go away but praised the “big team effort” of family, friends, and friends of friends, joining for Sunday’s event.

“It’s about keeping her in our minds,” he added. “When she and I watched James do the half marathon, I thought ‘I could never do that’ – but here I am.

“I think she would, like us, be humbled and amazed by the support people have shown.

“It feels special to be doing the first Great East Run together in Ipswich.”

Among businesses and sponsors to support the Running for Ruth team, Strip Tees provided shirts displaying Ruth’s motto, ‘Be in love with your life – every minute of it’, while Coes supplied Danny and Lydia with trainers, and the team with other accessories.

After the run, Ross Keough hosted a special gathering at the Arcade Tavern and laid on a Running for Ruth pilsner, with sales going straight into the fundraisers’ coffers.

The team also received support from Ipswich Sports Club.

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