Families light up Portchester Castle at glow-in-the-dark fun run

RUNNERS of all ages reached for the glowsticks, fairy lights and UV paint as they tackled a 5km challenge around Portchester Castle.

Thursday, 1st December 2016, 5:55 am
Updated Tuesday, 6th December 2016, 12:53 pm
The Glow Around The Castle 5k run took place around Portchester Castle to raise money for a defibrillator for Fareham Parkrun. Picture: Sarah Standing (161607-4340)

More than 200 people braved below-freezing temperatures to take part in the Glow Around The Castle event last night, which was organised by Fareham Parkrun.

Race director Jeff Clark was inspired to raise money for the defibrillator after hearing the tragic news of a fun-runner suddenly dying.

Michael Wakefield, 69, collapsed during a Doncaster parkrun in September.

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‘When it started getting dark at some of our previous races, I bought glowsticks to make it a bit different,’ said Jeff. ‘At the end of one night, one girl said that she really enjoyed it because of the glowsticks, so it was just one of those things that I thought could actually become a really good event.’

The run set off from Portchester Castle before a coastal stretch down Hospital Road and a muddy dash across Castle Shore Park.

The run raised £1,200, which will cover the cost of the defibrillator, as well as training courtesy of parkrun volunteer Al Tottle.

Al, who is a private emergency medical technician, often runs at events with the device strapped to his back.

He said: ‘Having a defibrillator at these sort of events is very important. When people go into cardiac arrest, you want to get the defibrillator there as soon as possible.

‘If you’ve got one within the vicinity, then you’re able to quickly work out whether it can do anything for them rather than waiting for an ambulance.

‘A lot of parkrun organisations are now looking to raise money for defibrillators, and it’s a very good asset to have.

‘Hopefully they can be made available for community use as well.’

Fiona Sale, from Locks Heath, brought her eight-year-old daughter Poppy along for the run.

She said: ‘We do like a challenge and got involved because it was something a bit different.’

Fiona’s friend, Rachael Ashby, also ran with nine-year-old daughter Maddie.

She added: ‘It’s obviously for a good cause, but the beauty of it is that the kids can enjoy it as well.’

Jeff and the other runners will now look towards finding a defibrillator for Lee-on-the-Solent Parkrun.

Money will be raised at the Glow Around The Forest 5k run, which sets off from the West Walk car park in the Forest of Bere, Wickham on December 7 at 7pm.

Jeff said: ‘Portchester Castle has a draw of its own but I’m hoping after this that more people will be drawn towards more events.

‘There was no pressure tonight, and it’s great that non-competitive runners can enjoy running locally as well.’