Headway Bradford member, Denise Johnson, achieved a wonderful result when she ran the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon on Sunday 12 October 2014. Not only did she complete the race in 3 hrs 52 mins, she also raised £688.07 for Headway Bradford, far exceeding her target of £500.
As Sunday 12 October was a foggy morning, there was some uncertainty as to whether the race would start on time at 9.30am. However, when the time came, Denise set off on the 26.2 mile course wearing her bright yellow Headway vest and got lots of support for Headway as she passed through the villages. The fog cleared and Denise kept going in spite of having a hamstring problem and received her medal as soon as she crossed the finishing line.
Denise’s JustGiving Page closed at the beginning of this year, so our monthly Coffee Morning on Thursday 15 January at the St George’s Hall cafe in Bradford provided a good opportunity for Denise to present the cheque to us and for us to present Denise with a Certificate of Appreciation.
Our congratulations go to Denise on completing the marathon and supporting Headway Bradford in such a marvellous way. Our thanks also go to all the people who donated generously to make the amount raised spectacular.
Denise was one of the 7,000 runners, both amateur and professional, who had snapped up places within hours of them being made available. For Denise, it was the first marathon she had run for 5 years – it gave her something to train for and aim at achieving for herself after having had a very difficult 14 months following her husband Don’s brain injury on 15 July 2013 – and Don did all the training for this marathon with Denise!
Don suffered his brain injury (frontal lobe damage) whilst working abroad, but Denise brought him back to England in a wheelchair on 22 August 2013, where he was in a Bradford hospital for three weeks. Because of his aggression and trying to escape at every opportunity he had, Don was transferred to Daniel Yorath House (rehabilitation centre owned by the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust). The one thing he kept asking to do was to go out for a run. This was not an option at that time, but staff did take him out for walks. At the end of September, it was agreed that Denise could run with Don on a disused railway line for approximately 2.5 miles about four times a week. This calmed Don down and gave him something to focus on. The staff at Daniel Yorath House could not believe the difference being able to go on runs made to him.
On 22 October 2013, while on weekend leave, Don ran his first park run (5K) in Bradford and all their fellow members from their local running club came and ran round with him – he did not walk once but completed the distance in 29 minutes. By Christmas Don had run his first 10K run, completing it in 48 minutes. Don came home for Daniel Yorath House on 5 March 2014, and in June Denise and Don started to train for the Yorkshire Marathon. Starting with 9 mile runs, they gradually built up to 15 mile runs together. Denise then went on to do some 20 mile runs on her own.
The Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon is staged by Marathon Yorkshire Ltd, a sister company to Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All. Along with other events, the marathon stands as part of a lasting legacy of the late fundraiser and campaigner, Jane Tomlinson from Leeds, who raised almost £2m for charity by tackling a series of epic challenges, including cycling over 4,000 miles across America, despite being diagnosed with incurable cancer.
Our photos show:-
1. Photo of Denise crossing the finishing line.
2. Don and Denise with John Watmough.
3. Steve Butlin, Vice Chair of Headway Bradford, with Denise and John Watmough.
4. Pam Drake, Secretary of Headway Bradford, with Denise and John Watmough.
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