A Bristol man will be going from couch to ultra-marathon when he takes on a gruelling charity challenge in memory of his little sister next week.
Jake Humphries, 29, from Mangotsfield, dusted off his running shoes in February after a taking a break from the sport during the pandemic.
But five months later, on July 9, he’ll be taking on the Race to the Stones, a 100km section of the ancient Ridgeway National Trail, with 3,704 ft elevation that will take him across Berkshire and Wiltshire in just one day.
The woodland, riverside and ridge trail is billed as ‘the UK’s favourite ultra-marathon, along the UK’s oldest path’ and Jake is determined to complete it without stopping in a bid to raise money for Children’s Hospice South West (CHSW), the charity that supported his family when his youngest sister Aimee died, aged five.
“I started running again in February after a break during the pandemic and although I’ve tried to keep fit by cycling, training for Race to the Stones has been really tough,” said Jake, an operations manager at a grid connections company.
Even if I have to walk it, I’ll get it done to raise money for a fantastic charity that is very close to mine and my family’s heart.
Jake’s sister Aimee spent her last weeks at CHSW’s Charlton Farm children’s hospice at Wraxall, near Bristol, in 2009. Aimee, who was born with a rare genetic condition causing her to have an enlarged liver and spleen, was diagnosed with liver cancer in November 2008 and the family were introduced to Charlton Farm the following May while she was undergoing chemotherapy treatment.
The staff and facilities at Charlton Farm are incredible and the hospice had a hugely positive impact on our family, particularly for my other younger sisters, one of whom was able to share a room with Aimee when she was at the hospice,” said Jake, who was 16 when Aimee died.
"Aimee carried on regardless, always with a smile and a giggle. Her upbeat personality and smiley nature was also recognised by the hospital as Aimee was nominated and won the bravest child awards after her passing.
"Even though she was very poorly, the staff still managed to do things with her.
Michael, the chef, even made her favourite sausages and mash for tea.
“Charlton Farm provided respite for our family and was there for us when we needed it the most. Without the selflessness of all the staff at CHSW, there would be many families facing their darkest days alone.”
To make a donation to Jake’s ‘Ultra for Aimee’ challenge, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jhumphries