Sporty Hadleigh family to attempt world record
- Credit: Su Anderson
The Stewarts from Hadleigh want to break the record for running a half marathon pushing a wheelchair user
A sporty family from the Hadleigh area are preparing to undertake not one, but two mammoth challenges in 2016.
Deborah and Andrew Stewart, both members of Hadleigh Hares athletics club, will attempt to break the world record for pushing a wheelchair at a half marathon, when they join the Great Bentley half marathon on February 7.
Andrew will push their son Chris, 19, a Suffolk One student, around the course, spurred on by teammate Debs and daughter Elizabeth, who’ll be cheering from the sidelines.
The race is, in effect, a warm-up, however, for the even greater challenge presented by the Brighton Marathon, which Andrew and Debs will compete in with Chris later in the year, raising money for St Elizabeth Hospice, which supports the cerebral palsy sufferer.
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Andrew explained: “Chris was using EACH for respite. When he came to be 18 he started going to St Elizabeth Hospice where they were doing a crossover group. They’ve always dealt with adults and older people, and because medical science is so much better and there are so many kids like this surviving so much longer now, there was a need for a young persons unit.
“We’ve got involved with that as Chris is part of the young person’s youth group there. They are trying to raise money for a respite bed so there’s somewhere for them to get a bit of respite and we, very foolishly, said we’d raise money!”
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It was Debs’ idea to take on the Brighton Marathon and soon after Team Chris t-shirts printed, their training began.
The couple are no strangers to the world of running. Both have completed London Marathon and Copenhagen Ironman in addition to many other events. The furthest they’d run pushing Chris, however, was just 10K.
“I’ve found it quite hard,” Andrew said of the training regime which is currently seeing him run around 30 miles per week, building up to an average of 70 miles. “It’s toughest on my quads because you have to push that bit harder to get moving. Chris is about 45kilos. I’ve got a sack of slate which we call Counterfeit Chris, and I’ve been running around with that the past couple of months!”
The current target to beat for the record attempt is two and a half hours, with the family aiming for a finishing time of two hours, while they expect to finish at Brighton in five hours.
“For Brighton we’d like to raise £1,000 but if we can exceed that it would be great. We’re halfway there already.”
“This is something we are quite passionate about,” said Andrew, “we’d like to help as much as we can.”
The support, he said, has already been brilliant and he especially thanks Great Bentley running club who donated places in their half marathon to Andrew, Debs and Chris, as well as offering special assistance on the day.
Donations can be made at giving.stelizabethhospice.org.uk/team-chris---brighton-marathon-2016. And look up Team Chris on Facebook.