12-marathons in 12 days for kind-hearted SarahBy Karen Jordan
December 18, 2012
A kind-hearted runner is helping raise £250,000 for children affected by HIV in Africa by running 12 marathons in 12 days.
Tackling the biggest challenge of her life, Sarah O’Neill, 31, is pulling on her running shoes for the 314.4-mile HOPE Tour and is calling on other fleet-of-foot fundraisers to join her in the event’s 10th marathon, which starts at Reading station on Friday, December 21.
Joined by former England rugby champion Lewis Moody and three other 12in12 runners, Mrs O’Neill will set foot on a 26.2-mile trip down memory lane, passing her former schools Earley St Peter’s in Church Road and her family home in Earley.
They will then head on through to Twyford, Maidenhead, Dorney, Eton and finally to Windsor Castle.
Founder member of the HOPE Tour Mrs O’Neill said: “This is without a doubt the toughest challenge any of us have ever done, and we will pour every last ounce of energy into completing this challenge of a lifetime and raising as much as possible for HOPEHIV.”
The HOPE Tour starts in North Yorkshire today and finishes in the Mall in London on Sunday, December 23.
The team is looking for as many people as possible to join it on the challenge to raise £250,000 for children and young people orphaned or affected by the devastating consequences of HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa.
Runners can take part in a 5km, 10km, half or a full marathon with the team.
The team is also recruiting churches en route to host fundraising carol concerts. The HOPE Tour is the final challenge in a year-long fundraiser for HOPEHIV, which has seen a 24-strong team pushing their bodies to the limit to raise an incredible £101,000 so far by cycling from London to Paris and taking part in triathlons, bog snorkelling and morph suit running.
Mrs O’Neill said: “The 12in12 has been an epic year and I really wanted us to go out with a bang. The idea of running 12 marathons in 12 days seemed like the perfect sign-off.
“It combines all that I wanted the 12in12 to be: forming a team with the same passion, flying the HOPEHIV flag across the UK, recruiting as many others en route as possible to push their own personal boundaries, whether that be one mile or 26.2, shaking a bucket or holding one of our HOPE concerts.”
Mark Glen, chief executive of HOPEHIV, said: “In all my years with HOPEHIV, Mrs O’Neill and her 12in12 colleagues are undoubtedly one of the most inspiring, passionate and determined group of people that I have met.”
To sign up for the HOPE Tour or to find out how you can support the team, visit www.the12in12.com/hope-tour