RUNNING 10 miles dressed as a bee holds no fears for Janice Raffle – not when it’s your 10th long-distance event in a year and you’ve held court with the most powerful man in the world.
The mother of three, who recently moved from Southsea, made national headlines last month when she met Barack Obama during the US president’s impromptu visit to Stonehenge.
It was a never-to-be forgotten moment for Janice, husband James and their sons Angus, eight, Joshua, seven, and Barney, three.
It also provided a boost for Janice’s entry in the Bupa Great North Run, the attention received from meeting Obama just two days before the event helping to bring in an extra £600 in sponsorship.
Now she will complete her year-long mission of competing in 10 long-distance runs when she dons her bee costume once again for the Bupa Great South Run in Portsmouth this Sunday.
‘The build-up is probably not going to be as surreal as the Great North Run,’ joked Janice.
‘It was an amazing experience to meet the president. We heard he may be coming to Stonehenge and, because we now live only a mile away, thought we’d go and see if we could get a look.
‘We were totally shocked when he waved at us and come over for a chat. He was such a polite, nice man and welcomed all my children.
‘He commented on what an amazing place Stonehenge is and joked about me being outnumbered by my husband and three boys, before posing for a picture with us.
‘It was a moment we can all treasure for the rest of our lives and it’s helped me raise awareness of why I’ve been doing these runs over the past year.’
Janice’s running mission started at the 2013 Bupa Great South Run and has since taken in many other Great Runs including Edinburgh, Manchester, Glasgow and Newcastle.
The result has been £2,700 raised for Cancer Research and also to promote awareness about the declining numbers of bees in the UK – hence the insect costume.
‘It’s an important subject and that’s why I want to do my little bit to help,’ said Janice, 36.
‘Bees keep dying in the winter and we need to find out why and do more to look after them.
‘What a lot of people don’t know is that bees pollinate a huge amount and without them, a lot of our food would no longer be available or would be a lot more costly so they are vital.
‘That’s why I’ll be putting on the face paint and wings and getting ready to go again around Portsmouth.’
While the Great Women’s 10k in Glasgow has been a highlight of 2014, Janice is looking forward to returning to Portsmouth next month for her favourite event.
‘I lived in Southsea for 12 years and all my boys were born in St Mary’s Hospital so I have a big affinity with Portsmouth,’ she said.
‘The Great South Run is my best. It’s a big party and everyone gets involved.
‘There’s lots of music and the support is much more intense. I’m looking forward to taking in the sights again and completing the set.’