Newmarket rallies behind fundraising 24 hour run for schoolgirl Evelina and raises more than £18,000
Ultra marathon runner Ben Blowes has described Saturday’s 24-hour 100-mile charity run as ‘a triumph of the human spirit’ after more than £18,500 was raised for a 10-year-old accident victim.
The plight of Newmarket schoolgirl Evelina Kravale, whose lower leg and foot were amputated after she was hit by a bus in Newmarket’s Exning Road a month ago, has inspired a wave of sympathy and support from people in the town and surrounding areas who wanted to do something to help her family.
Ben, 47, who runs Vivo Outdoor Fitness, got together with his training partner Soham-based driving instructor Martyn Taylor, 38, to attempt the run of more than 100 miles in 24 hours around a 4.2 mile lap of the town with each lap starting and ending at the Tesco superstore on Fordham Road.
The atmosphere was absolutely fantastic, said Ben. “There was no talk about Brexit or who would win the election. It was just a triumph of the human spirit and people coming together to do something amazing,”.
He said a bucket collection at Tesco raised just over £4,000 and donations to the crowdfunding page had reached in excess of £14,500. The money will all be administered alongside the funds raised by Laureate School.
Ben estimates that he and Martyn were joined by more than 700 other runners in the course of the 24 hours.
“We had the most amazing support,” said Ben. “Even on the 2am lap we had 15 people join us and by 4am it had switched up to 40 people even though it was minus six degrees and absolutely freezing.”
Among runners were a group from Newmarket Fire Station, who ran a lap in full firefighting gear. Shaun Whiter ran alongside Ben for a lap on the blades he uses after losing both legs below the knee when a hit and run driver crashed into him in 2016, and All Saints’ School pupil Seb Brokenshire-Dyke, who has cerebral palsy,joined in using his walking frame.
Along the way, students from Laureate School and Newmarket Academy, came out to cheer every hour as the runners passed by and Ben and Martyn took a detour to run a mile round a course at Laureate School with students in support of their friend and fellow pupil Evelina.
For Ben, whoorganised the event in less than seven days, the runproved more difficult than other challenges he had taken on, including his record-breaking run in the London Marathon with a full-size tumble drier strapped to his back. “I broke a bone in my foot in the summer and hadn’t been doing much running. Twenty hours in it was giving me a lot of pain and I could barely put any weight on my foot so I walked the last four hours,” he said.
Ben said he received a text message from Evelina’s family saying that they were completely overwhelmed.“They said they just couldn’t believe anyone would do this for them,” said Ben.