Thursday, 12 December 2019

Dad on target for eighth race of year for sons’ club

Dad on target for eighth race of year for sons’ club

A MAN from Sonning Common will take part in his eighth half marathon of the year on Sunday.

Paul Hodges, 51, is set to take part in the Henley half marathon and has also completed cross country trail runs in Bath and the Isle of Wight this year.

He has completed a race every month to raise money for his sons’ football club Rotherfield United, which is located at Bishopswood Sports Ground in Gallowstree Common.

Mr Hodges, of Blounts Court Road, has already received more than £600 via a JustGiving page he set up online.

He wants this to go towards the club’s benevolent fund, which helps children continue playing if their parents cannot afford membership.

He said it costs about £100 to remain part of the club and pays roughly £200 for his sons Freddie, 12, and George, nine, to train and play matches with the under 12s and under 9s.

Mr Hodges, who is married to Wendy, 50, said: “It’s not the cheapest thing to send your kids to football but it’s a really good cause.

“If someone falls on hard times you can’t suddenly say to your child ‘we can’t afford to send you to football anymore’.

“The club gives them the opportunity to play football against a wide range of teams and there’s a friendly and healthy competitiveness within the local area. They learn new skills and get physical exercise.

“There’s also a social aspect because they’re playing in a team, learning that everyone is important and learning that it’s important to play together and not just to win.”

Mr Hodges, the deputy head of LVS Ascot, decided to challenge himself at the beginning of the year and complete a half marathon or trail run every month. 

He said: “I’ve always loved running and I look to set myself a bit of a challenge every year. You have all those endorphins pinging around your body and the runs are just a good way of doing something I really enjoy.”

Mr Hodges completed the Farnborough half marathon in January in one hour and 43 minutes. In February he went to Wokingham and finished in one hour and 41 minutes.  In March he competed at Reading and finished in one hour and 43 minutes. His next race was at Boston in Lincolnshire in April, where he finished in one hour and 43 minutes.  At Bracknell in May he completed the race in one hour and 43 minutes.

At Hull in June he decided to take part despite suffering with a flu virus and finished in two hours and two minutes. It took him more than three hours to complete a 16-mile cross country trail run in Bath in July because he was still recovering.

In August he finished an Isle of Wight trail run in one hour and 55 minutes and last month he completed the Bristol half marathon in one hour and 45 minutes.

Mr Hodges wants to record a time of less than one hour and 40 minutes before the year is over but conceded it was unlikely to happen at Henley.

“It’s the Fawley hill bit which is the challenge,” he said. “I have done it a couple of times on a bike but it’s just a real killer — about nine miles.”

In November Mr Hodges will take part in the Marlow and Silverstone half marathons before one in Portsmouth just before Christmas.

To donate, visit  www.justgiving

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