Sunday, 15 December 2019

Charity runner dressed as bee wins award for contribution at 10km race

Charity runner dressed as bee wins award for contribution at 10km race

A WOMAN completed the Watlington 10km cross-country race dressed as a bee for charity — and won a special prize.

Suzanne Whiteman, 38, was awarded the Jane Laws Memorial Cup, which is presented to the competitor deemed to have contributed most to the event.

Mrs Laws, an ultra-runner who died from cancer in 2017, had taken part in the race several times and won it twice.

Mrs Whiteman, a solicitor who lives of Damer Gardens, Henley, was one of 56 runners who took part in race.

They set off from Hill Road and ran along the Ridgeway towards the M40 before climbing up to the water tower on Christmas Common Road and heading back to the town via Watlington Hill.

The race was won by Matthew Brown, from Watlington, in a time of 43 minutes and 24 seconds while Liz O’Keefe was the fastest woman in 52 minutes and 57 seconds. Mrs Whiteman was one of the final runners to finish, coming home in one hour 19 minutes.

“I was last but two because the gentleman running with me gallantly let me over the finish line first,” she said.

“A large number of runners was waiting for the last people and I got a big cheer when I crossed the line. It was hard work because it was very warm and humid and the costume is made from not very breathable material.”

She was raising money for the Royal Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire, the specialist heart and lung hospital where her mother Kathy Whiteman underwent a lung transplant in January 2007 but died of pneumonia almost two years later.

Mrs Whiteman chose to run in the bee costume as it reminded her of her mother being dressed in a similar outfit in support of the BBC’s Children in Need appeal in 1997. She came up with the idea of doing 10 runs after enrolling for last September’s Blenheim Palace 10km with colleagues at the Oxford law firm where she works.

She had wanted to mark the 10th anniversary of her mother’s death and decided to run nine more during each month that followed. The Watlington event was a “bonus run”.

Mrs Whiteman has passed her £3,000 target and said: “I’m really thrilled to have got such a large amount of money.”

Murray Bishop, one of the race organisers, said: “It went really smoothly. It’s a low-key, local event that’s fun but competitive. It was great that Suzanne came along.”

The run has been held every year since 2010 together with one in winter. This year’s winter run will be held on Sunday, December 1.

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