A big-hearted team of 20 students and staff from Cardinal Newman College in Preston took to the streets at the Manchester Great Run for CAFOD on Sunday.
Bursting with energy the runners completed the 10K route with fighting spirit to raise money for the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development.
As the crowds gathered in their thousands to cheer them on, Sean Haslegrave, former Preston North End midfielder turned PE teacher ran alongside his students with an underlying desire to finish first! Sean dealt with the pressure well and absorbed the excitement of the day.
He said: “They said they could beat me easily but I wasn’t too concerned about that!”
When the runners crossed the finish line the fighting talk was replaced with stories of the atmosphere on the streets and the cause they were all running for together.
Among the students were John Heatley, Ben Wearden and Ryan Sinclair, who all had personal stories to tell about the amazing crowd when then crossed the finish line.
Student John Heatley, 18, battled through an ankle injury to complete the course but says it was due to the immense support on the day:
“At about the 7K mark I was in agony but some kids saw my name on my vest and started cheering, “Come on John!” It definitely kept me going.”
Televised this year for the first time the event attracted people from far and wide and the atmosphere around the course was second to none.
Ben Wearden, 17, ran the Memphis/Tennessee 5km run in 2008 in 103 degree heat and had been training hard to hit the road again, in a cooler climate. Finishing the race in 41 minutes he was the second member of the team to arrive back.
“Helping people on the other side of the world that have so little is what it’s all about for me,” he said.
“We had a couple of speakers at college talk to us about CAFOD’s work and it made me want to raise money to help.”
The first team member back was climbing enthusiast Ryan Sinclair who finished the course in an impressive 38 minutes. With insatiable energy Ryan was found on the climbing wall near the CAFOD marquee with a few friends, killing some time before the start of the race.
He said: “People don’t know but lots of climbers do run. I’m training to be a climbing instructor and training for the race was good for me.”
Coach Sean said: “I would do my job for nothing. It’s fantastic to teach such great lads and running for CAFOD important to us in making a difference to people’s lives, even if very small.”
The team is hoping to raise £3,000 for CAFOD when all the money has been collected.
CAFOD Lancaster Diocesan Manager Rosa Trelfa said: “The students and staff have been so generous with their time and energy. They’ve shown so much motivation, and the competitive edge for the race was inevitable. I am so proud of them all.”
The sponsorship page at http://www.justgiving.com/CardinalNewmanCollege to leave a donation for CAFOD remains open after the race if you would like to show your support of the team. Thank you.