Shrewsbury doctor and nurse to take on London Marathon
A doctor and nurse from Shrewsbury will be pounding the streets at next year's London Marathon to raise money for children’s charities.
Sophie Parr and Caroline Jones, who both work for the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust and live in Shrewsbury, will take their place on the start line of the world’s most famous road race in April 2020.
Sophie, who is a nurse on the neonatal unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford, will raise money for Bliss, supporting families of babies who are born premature or unwell.
Meanwhile the NSPCC will benefit from funds raised by Caroline, who is a doctor on the acute medical unit at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital.
Sophie, who has been running for 10 years, said: “I started running ‘properly’ at 16 to get fitter and have carried it on ever since.
"In the last few years I've been hampered with a few injuries, which has caused to swap my running from trying to get good times and record new achievements to just doing it for the pure enjoyment.
“I've done all sorts of different races from obstacle races to two-day mountain marathons.”
Sophie also took part in this year's London Marathon, but says it came at the wrong time.
She said: “I picked the wrong year to do my first full road marathon because in the four-month build up to it I also left my job, started working at PRH, bought my first flat and went to Kenya to do charity work.”
She decided to fundraise for Bliss through seeing the work they do.
"I see Bliss doing brilliant work almost every day through my work," Sophie said.
"The support provided by the charity helps parents and families deal with the stressful situation that is having a little one in the neonatal unit.”
Caroline started running two years ago – around the same time that she joined the team on the acute medical unit at RSH.
She said: “I did my foundation programme here nine years ago and, after a little time away in other hospitals and having children, I have returned 'home'.
“When I started running, it was more of a 'give it a go' thing. I had no intention of racing – I could barely manage 10 seconds without wanting to sob in a heap on the pavement.
“I used the NHS ‘Couch to 5k’ app and built up my distance and time, and a year later I entered the Birmingham Half Marathon and found my addiction to races. I find running great to help with stress.
“Every year, I cheer on my colleagues who enter the London marathon and recently had a twinge of jealousy: ‘I want to do that!’ I was so inspired by the previous runners that I entered on the day.”
Caroline has been inspired to raise money for the NSPCC as a mother and primary school parent governor.
She said: “The NSPCC is a charity that should never be needed but we are lucky that we have such a wonderful organisation to support parents, children's organisations and our children whether it’s for advice, education or reporting concerns.
"The NSPCC even runs Childline – a service that I am sure we can all recall from our school days.
“In a world which is far more virtual than when I was little, the NSPCC is at the forefront of promoting internet safety, teaching both children and parents how to keep safe online.
"This is why I want to run and fundraise for them, as they do such amazing work for all our children.”
Shropshire maternity scandal: Almost £40 million paid in compensation - as hospitals trust benefited from £1m scheme for 'good care'