Harrier is to push herself to the limit

SHE may have run in marathons – but a Morpeth Harrier will test herself to the limit by doing two major charity challenges.

As well as taking part in an ultra-running event, Claire Bruce will take on Africa’s highest mountain to raise money for St Oswald’s Hospice.

First on the list is ‘The Wall’ – a two-day running event on June 23 and 24 which covers 69 miles along Hadrian’s Wall between Carlisle and Newcastle. This will also involve camping near Vindolanda on the first night.

In 12 months’ time she will have the experience of a lifetime as she will attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, which is 5,895m high.

The teacher is combining her training with a range of fund-raising events and activities – participants in the mountain trek are asked to collect £4,000, which includes the costs of the trip.

Mrs Bruce said: “I went to see my physiotherapist after last year’s Kielder Marathon and when I said I wanted to do an interesting challenge, he told me about the Hadrian’s Wall event.

“I will be running on a mixture of roads and tracks and I’m looking forward to giving it a go. It will be tough, particularly on the second day, but I’ve done three marathons now and this gives me confidence that I will be able to complete the run.

“It was trying to take my mind off The Wall that took me to the Riverside Leisure Centre for a fair and there was a St Oswald’s team at the event who were advertising the fund-raising activities they run.

“The Mount Kilimanjaro challenge caught my eye and as it is taking place during half-term I was able to sign up. I’ve only done hiking in the Lake District before so it will be a complete culture shock, but I’m sure it will be an amazing experience.

“A lady I met at the Keswick Mountain Festival did the climb two years ago and she told me that she still hasn’t completely come back down from the buzz. She also made friends for life with people from her group.”

The Espley resident’s training was going well until March, when she was suddenly admitted to hospital to have her appendix removed.

“It totally came out of the blue and knocked me back for a little while, but I was determined to make sure that it wouldn’t stop me doing the Hadrian’s Wall challenge and I put in the effort to get back on track,” she said.

Mrs Bruce teaches at Whitley Memorial First School in Bedlington and staff and pupils are helping her total by putting on a mini-Olympics.

Nearby Meadowdale Academy, a middle school, has already given £500 and Chantry Middle School and Technology College in Morpeth will hold a non-uniform day.

She has done some back-packing at the town’s Marks & Spencer store and a raffle at the Morpeth Harriers Veteran Athletes Grand Prix presentation evening brought in £300.

“I’m very grateful to the organisers of the presentation evening, Pam and Tony Woodcock, for allowing me to organise the raffle and all the members of Morpeth Harriers who were so generous in donating prizes, buying tickets and bidding for the top prize which was auctioned,” she added.

“A big thank you to the Joiners Arms for the use of the room and to the regulars who also donated to the fund while enjoying the Newcastle match on the television.

“I’ve also had lots of support from my husband and daughter, other family members and friends.”

St Oswald’s Hospice, based in Gosforth, provides specialist care for adults and children with life-limiting conditions and support for their families.

To back her fund-raising efforts, visit www.justgiving.com/clairebrucekili

A charity meal is also being held at La Bodega, Newgate Street, on the evening of July 5. For ticket details, telephone the tapas bar on 01670 516055.