EMOTIONS will run high has hundreds of people pound the streets of Swindon at the Prospect 10k at the weekend.
For the second consecutive year, the race will see fundraisers test their endurance and stamina in aid of Prospect Hospice –a charity which has proved a lifeline for terminally-ill patients and their often overwhelmed carers over the last 34 years.
Among those taking part on Sunda will be nurses Carol Ratcliffe and Jacqui Shakespeare, who have chosen to help tackle the huge task of fundraising the £4.3 million necessary to the running of the hospice on top of their daily workload.
Carol, 50, of Stratton, who acted as a marshal at the inaugural 10k last year decided to take on a more active role in the daunting challenge this time around.
This will be the opportunity for her to honour the memories of the many patients she sadly had to bid farewell to in the 18 months since she joined Prospect.
“I have seen relatives who have had a really difficult time make the effort out of their grief to raise money for Prospect to give something back and I thought I should do something too,” said Carol, a staff nurse in the in-patient unit.
“You can see the end result and where the money goes.
“Working at Prospect is more than a job. You’ve got that bond with the patients and their families.”
Although apprehensive at the prospect of wading through brambles far off the beaten path, she is determined to complete the race and raise awareness of the hospice’s support services at the event.
“There is still some stigma about the hospice,” she said. “People think it’s all doom and gloom which is sad. Many patients say after a few hours of being here that they wished they had come sooner.”
Challengers will set off from Nationwide on Pipers Way at 10.30am and follow a circular trail back to where they started.
It will be veteran jogger 53-year-old Jacqui’s second attempt at the arduous 10k course across rough terrain.
The clinical nurse specialist, from North Swindon, said: “All our patients are special to us and I will be thinking about the people that we have lost. We look after the families as well as the patients. Prospect is such an amazing service and place.
“It’s a great event which also gives relatives something to focus on and channel their grief.”
The pair, who belong to the same running club in Highworth and humorously go by the nickname Highworth Plodding Club, as they often trail behind the rest of their team, expect they will not be able to contain their feelings as they cross the finish line.
“We will have lumps in our throats when we reach the finish line with all the patients’ relatives watching,” added Jacqui. “It will be very emotional and we are going to have to take tissues with us.”
Registration costs £15 and participants are being asked to raise a minimum of £100 in sponsorship. To sign up visit www.prospect-hospice.net/Supporter/Fundraising-Events/10k Online registration for the event closes at midnight today, but you can still register up until Friday lunchtime by calling the fundraising team on 01793 816161. Prospect will now also be accepting registrations on the day, at a cost of £50.
Organisers are looking for marshals to support the event on the day. To volunteer email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01793 816161.