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Wharfedale parishioners’ Great North Run success
A team of Wharfedale parishioners braved the stormy weather to run a total of 91.7 miles and raise at least £1,700 for Catholic aid agency CAFOD.
The seven-strong team of parishioners from St John Fisher and St Thomas More Church, Burley-in-Wharfedale, took on the Great North Run.
They were also running to support a former pupil of their local school in his recovery.
Keith Pitcher, 60, a recently retired university director from Ilkley, and his six fellow parishioners, all finished the gruelling course from Newcastle to South Shields in times ranging from Brendan Barratt’s impressive one hour 34 minutes to just over two hours.
They were among 56,000 runners to take part in the 33rd Great North Run.
Double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah was among the line up being cheered by a huge crowd and narrowly missed out on winning the elite men’s race.
Mr Pitcher was set a challenge by his four children to get fit and do something for charity nine years ago; he has only missed one race since and thought it would be a good thing for his parish to be involved in.
He said: “We were so worried when we saw the weather forecast. We thought it would be a nightmare but it wasn’t too bad and we all crossed the line. It was great running as a team and we’re all really keen to carry on running together after this.
“We all felt strongly that we had to run for CAFOD; it’s such a good cause. That, and our parish’s faith in us completing the race, kept us going.”
The youngest member of the John Fisher and Thomas More team, Joe Thompson, 20, enjoyed his first Great North Run challenge despite the difficult conditions.
Mr Thompson is a student at Northumbria University and hopes to become a doctor.
He said: “I’m exhausted but so glad I finished it. It’s been great training as a team and the parish has really been behind us so it’s all been a fantastic experience. CAFOD has always been a part of my life through primary and secondary school and now I’m at university I wanted to carry on; the Great North Run is a way of doing that.”
CAFOD is a Catholic aid agency that raises money for development projects around the world. Visit www.cafod.org.uk.
To support the St John Fisher and St Thomas More churches, visit justgiving.com/TeamFisherMore