A TEENAGER with Down’s Syndrome will take part in the Henley half marathon on Sunday to raise money for charity and to keep fit.
James Quigley will be one of hundreds of people competing in the 34th annual event and the accompanying Henley Standard 10km, which are organised by the Rotary Club of Henley Bridge.
The 18-year-old took up running early last year and since then has completed more than 25 5km runs and several 10km races and half marathons.
Last month, he completed the Reading 401 marathon after being inspired by Ben Smith, who is attempting to run 401 marathons in 401 days for charity.
James, of Northfield Road, Shiplake, is being supported by his parents David and Ann.
Mr Quigley, an accountant in Henley, said: “We heard about the 401 marathons and we thought it was a great challenge and liked the charities Ben Smith is raising money for. We saw that he was running locally so James thought we would go along and join him. There were about 15 runners who ran alongside him, although more people ran shorter distances.”
James told Mr Smith about himself as he ran next to him, including how he had work experience in the café at the Wokingham Borough Council offices, and Mr Smith told him about Kidscape and Stonewall, the charities he is supporting.
The teenager managed to get a selfie with the charity runner before cartwheeling over the finish line. He then decided to ask family and friends to sponsor him and raised about £300, which he will donate to Mr Smith’s chosen charities.
James, who attends Addington School in Woodley, said he runs every day and often goes along the towpath between Shiplake and Henley.
“I like to be fit and I enjoy running — it makes me very happy,” he said.
Last year he took part in the Henley Standard 10km but had decided to take on the half marathon this year for a greater challenge.
He will be running in aid of Kidscape. To make a donation, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/James-Quigley-401
Meanwhile, a chartered accountant will tackle the half marathon for the 15th year in a row.
Neal Jeffs, 41, has always finished the race in less than one hour and 28 minutes since he first took part in 2002.
He said: “What’s not to like about running by the river on a Sunday morning? Just running back down Fair Mile into Henley is quite nice. There’s also something about Fawley Hill that attracts me to it in a masochistic way and the challenge is incredible.
“It’s good that I’ve managed to stay injury-free at this point of the year, every year, for 15 years. I’ve been pretty fortunate.”
Mr Jeffs, from Ascot, will cheered on by his wife Camille and daughters Abigail, eight, and Sophie, six.
He added: “Since I started I’ve met my wife, got married and had two kids. Now we make a day of it and go for a meal in the Catherine Wheel afterwards.”
This will be his 83rd half marathon and he has also taken part in the London and Brighton marathons.
The cost of entry is £25 for the main race and £20 for the 10km. All the runners are chip-timed and all finishers receive a medal and a goodie bag.
Online entries are now closed but places will be available on the day. Competitors can register from 8am with the races starting at about 9.30am.
There will also be a children’s one-mile challenge on a course near Swiss Farm.
• A report, pictures and results from the races will be published in next week’s Henley Standard.