2,013 miles in just a year

Swindon Advertiser: Kerry Cooper with her son Charlie Wingett, who plays for the Swindon Town Academy Kerry Cooper with her son Charlie Wingett, who plays for the Swindon Town Academy

GRATEFUL mum Kerry Cooper, who set herself the near-impossible task of running 2,013 miles by the end of the year in a bid to collect £2,013 for Swindon Town FC Academy, is just a few feet away from her goal.

Over the last two years, Kerry had ample time to witness the dedication of Academy staff as they trained and coached her 11-year-old son Charlie Wiggett.

The personal trainer embarked on the challenge in January, initially purely to test her discipline, strength and stamina, waking up at the crack of dawn to cover 45 miles each week.

But as her motivation began faltering six months in, she realised she needed to strive towards something more significant than personal satisfaction.

In a huge turnaround, she decided to pursue the challenge for Swindon Academy and raise £2,013 towards its running cost.

“It’s one of the hardest things I have done both mentally and physically,” said the 33-year-old from Newbury.

“In August I realised just how hard it was and that I needed to put this towards something worthwhile. It seemed really important to fundraise for the academy.

“My son got a contract with the academy two years ago and I know how much goes into running it. It’s all free for us. The academy has done so much for my little boy. It gave me the determination to push through.

“I have not dropped a single week and have had to average 45 miles per week to hit my target. I didn’t stop on holiday. I have taken the challenge all around the world: Morocco, Vegas, Holland and Spain.”

The academy counts 150 players. They have a minimum of three training sessions per week and compete in matches on Saturdays and Sundays. Many members have gone on to join the Swindon Town first team over the years.

The determined fitness coach, who never once broke her strict exercise regime, running a minimum of four times each week, is ahead of schedule and should complete her 2,013th mile next week. She initially planned to reach her imaginary finish line on Christmas Eve.

“I only have 33 miles left, so now I can focus on fundraising,” she said.

“The last month has been hard and it’s really taken its toll. It has been difficult with the rain.

“I am definitely going to take a week off running when I finish.

“But I’ve enjoyed it and will carry on after, but not at this kind of mileage.”

To help Kerry reach her £2,013 fundraising target visit the website www.justgiving.com/local/project/swindontownfc or email cooper_ka@yahoo.co.uk

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