Early Morning Saturdays are usually spent by lots of youngsters turning over in bed again, or watching Saturday Morning TV. However this Saturday morning many of our Lionesses from the u7, u9, u10, u11, u16 & Senior Ladies team were joined by Coaches, Volunteers, Parents & Supporters an all came together to run in one of the weekly Whitehaven Park Runs and raise money through sponsorship to buy Chemotherapy Gift Packs to give out to patients after they have received Chemotherapy and the Henderson Suite based at West Cumberland Hospital.
The Lionesses grouped together as the sun was beginning to shine through the trees, all raring to go in their strips. Weeks of getting sponsors to raise money to buy Gift Packs from a company called Tropic who supply the Chemotherapy Packs and were offering to do them and make no money from them so that the Lionesses could present them to the Henderson Suite at West Cumberland Hospital. The packs cost £20 each and the Henderson Suite who said they'd be delighted to receive them as they get 40-60 referrals every month and the pack includes many things that a patient would find useful after treatment including special body wash, and creams, boiled sweets among other things and the Henderson Suite say are really worthwhile packs, even more special, every pack will have a card on saying it has come from the Whitehaven AFC Lionesses.
The Lionesses were greeted by the Whitehaven Park Organizers upon arrival with lots of smiles, and they talked the girls through the run, and how their times would be recorded with a special bar code and they'd know which place they finished. The organizers also did a chat to everyone at the run and announced the Lionesses to the other runners and what they were running for and they received lots of applause from the other runners. A few minutes before set off, Damian Seath took all the Girls and parents and coaches through a warm up and stretch so no injuries were picked up.
The organizers set everyone off and lots of enthusiastic Lionesses raced ahead of all their "Older" Coaches to try and beat them, players as young as 8 took part as well as parents, and it was amazing to see so many people of varying abilities and fitness all taking part towards one great cause. The first half of the run was all up hill and some started to take a steady approach to the run, and coaches and Senior Woman Players spread out over the course to run with the varying speeds of the Lionesses.
The Lionesses started to make it to the summit of the run and the turning point for the second leg of the run, it was one of the best parts of the run Rob Campbell who was one of the coaches commented 'It was so nice as the Lionesses who were speeding ahead were coming back and passing others, giving high fives and telling each other well done and to keep going, not just to each other but to other runners, and other runners not connected to the club were also shouting well done and keep going which was really nice'.
The Lionesses were all starting to approach the finish line now to which they would be greeted by parents who'd made up a table to supply water and much needed sweets for energy and as a reward for finishing. As the Lionesses began to approach the finish there was lots of fun to have, some sticking with their friends if they were running slower and finishing together, while others had a sprint finish against their pals or Lionesses from different age groups to get a good time and place.
The Coaches & Volunteers who organised the run commented afterwards 'It was an emotional day for some as it was really humbling seeing so many of the Lionesses from different age groups all coming together to do such a selfless thing for others in our local community who are going through difficult times. The Whitehaven Amateurs Club was built on community and doing things in the community and being part of that community and it was amazing for us to be part of this event with the Lionesses carrying on that message our club stands for. We are going to be collecting the monies in over next week or so and working out our grand total which we will be buying the packs to present to The Henderson Suite. We'd really like to also thank all our sponsors and supporters, including runners on the day who gave donations and also to The Whitehaven Park Run, who were great in allowing us to come along, and we'd strongly recommend them to anyone, be it a little extra fitness, or starting to get fit, there are runners of all abilities there and its very welcoming and very well organised. We'd also like to thank Andrew McKenzie who is a volunteer at the club who gave up his Saturday Morning to come and take these wonderful photos for us and give us pictures to remember the day by'.
You can find out about Whitehaven Park Runs by following the link https://www.parkrun.org.uk/whitehaven/
If anyone would like to donate they can do still by contacting Rob Campbell 07423133120 who can assist.