Community tackles active challenges across Portsmouth, Hayling Island, Havant, Gosport and Waterlooville

FIVE Waterlooville neighbours teamed up to tackle a marathon around their street - with the whole neighbourhood coming together to support the effort as active challenges took place across the area.

Monday, 27th April 2020, 5:31 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th April 2020, 5:21 pm
With the London Marathon postponed, Alice Jefferies ran 26.2 miles on her treadmill for the Stroke Association. Pictured with her boyfriend Ryan Blackburn and Colin the dog.

An idea was formed when Martin Parfitt was having dinner with his family Claire, Chloe and Phoebe, and spoke of his disappointment that he would not be able to run the Southampton Marathon he had trained for in June.

His daughters suggested he should take it on closer to home, so Chris took to his street Roundway’s WhatsApp group to test the idea others volunteered to join in.

Martin, who runs for the Denmead Striders and coaches for Havant Athletics Clubs, was joined by Phil Clarke, NHS nurse Karen Darroch, and first-time marathon runners Lorraine and Chris Taylor.

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Zara Hayward, 13 from Hayling Island, cycled several times around the island on Sunday to do 26 miles for The Alzheimer's Charity and Mind. Picture: Martine Walling

Lorraine and Chris, who had made medals for the runners and collected spare change from the gathered neighbours, said: ‘We just wanted to do something to say thank you for all the hard and dangerous work that is going on out there - the community spirit was amazing!’

Martin added: 'It was so great to see all the kids joining in, I would like to plan a mini run for the kids next.'

Taking on 68.2 laps of Roundway, the group were joined by a lot of the local kids and residents all came outside to watch and support as they raised more than £1,200.

Mimi Wilson, aged 10, managed to complete more than half a marathon on her bike, totalling 41 laps of the road.

Maurice Owens, 97, lives onboard Old Possum in Haslar Marina. On Sunday, he walked the 170m pier 26 times, raising money for the NHS. Picture: Haslar Marina

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Marie Wilson, mum to Mimi, said: ‘The community spirit was amazing, it was such a great day! Everyone maintained their social distance but still all managed to rally round and have fun.

‘The support for the runners was outstanding, one neighbour even dragged his garden hose out to the front to cool them down as they ran past!’

To donate to the group’s efforts, visit

Five residents of Roundway in Waterlooville ran a marathon around their street to raise funds for Portsmouth NHS. Pictured l-r: Karen Darroch, Chris Taylor, Martin Parfitt, Lorraine Taylor and Phil Clarke

For her first marathon, Alice Jefferies wasn't expecting to run it in her back garden.

But with the London Marathon postponed, that's exactly what she ended up doing - running 26.2 miles on her treadmill for the Stroke Association.

It's a charity that's close to her heart after grandmother Joan died of a stroke a few years ago.

Alice ended up live-streaming her marathon to family members via video app Zoom, and caught the attention of the BBC, who got official race commentator Steve Cram to narrate her efforts.

With the London Marathon postponed, Alice Jefferies ran 26.2 miles on her treadmill for the Stroke Association.

Alice, 25 from Waterlooville, said: 'I got a call from Radio One and it just kept getting bigger from there.

'This was my first marathon and turned out to be a lot tougher than I thought it would be - once I passed the halfway point it got much harder.

'But we managed to raise more than £3,500, which was really good.'

Alice’s mum had an endless supply of fancy dress to keep her entertained through the run, and her two sisters relayed to run around their garden for the first two hours.

The runner also had someone hula hooping for an hour, someone rowing for an hour and also someone cycling with her almost the whole time.

Alice added: ‘Biggest shout out to my boyfriend Ryan Blackburn and Colin the dog. I couldn’t have done it without them in my garden with me! Absolute heroes!’

Leo and Max McHugh ran the length of a marathon to raise funds for the NHS and received a medal each when they completed it on Sunday, the date of the original London Marathon.

Abbey Thorogood, Stroke Association events officer, said: ‘Alice’s marathon was bonkers but brilliant. The money that Alice has raised is more important than ever in helping to fund our specialist support for stroke survivors and rebuild lives.’

Maurice Owens, 97, from Gosport, was all smiles as he completed an unaided 2.6-mile walk to raise money for the NHS.

The pensioner, who lives on a boat in Haslar Marina, chose to support QA Hospital by walking up and down the jetty, after they saved his life last month following a head injury.

Mr Owens has raised more than £2,000, with more donations still flooding in.

He said: 'It was such a lovely surprise for me - considering my age and how I've never done it before, I thought I would really struggle.

'But I kept on going and even managed a cheeky sprint towards the finish line.

'I'm so pleased with how it went and how much wonderful support there has been - I cannot thank people enough for that.'

Katrina Fry, from Milton, ran the distance of the London Marathon from her living room treadmill.

She said: 'I completed the run in four and a half hours which was quite surprising.

'The support from family and friends has been phenomenal and I've managed to double my fundraising target.

'It's great to see so many other people going above and beyond for charity as well.'

Raising funds for a charity dear to him was 72-year-old Eric Compton, who took on the task of doing 26,000 steps in a day.

Portsmouth resident Eric, who has lung cancer and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, wanted to do his bit for the British Lung Foundation and completely smashed his target by completing more than 33,000 steps.

Eric, who is the chairman for the Breathe Easy Portsmouth group which supports people with chronic lung conditions, said: ‘I do my steps every day, seven days a week so I’m used to getting at least 12,000 a day. I knew as I was throwing down the challenge I was capable of doing that number of steps.

‘As a charity, the British Lung Foundation doesn’t get a great deal of money. We all need our lungs so it was important to try and raise some money for them.

‘It was marvelous. The effect needs to get across to these people with lung conditions: the more they exercise, the more they help themselves to breathe.’

Determined teenager Zara Hayward had her fair share of adversity to tackle as she cycled 26 miles in laps around Hayling Island.

The 13-year-old not only had to battle aching legs, but also an injury after she came off her bike during the challenge.

But the Hayling teen has raised £900 for The Alzheimer's Society and Mind - storming past her £250 fundraising target.

She said: 'I'm really happy about how much I raised.

'The bike ride itself went pretty well - I had to stop for a little break but it's the furthest I've ever cycled.

'I came off when I hit the kerb, but carried on going; there was only a couple of miles left at that point and I wasn't going to stop.'

A pair of running brothers also took on a big challenge, with Leo and Max McHugh taking on 26.2 miles in the lead-up to the original London Marathon date.

Leo, eight, and six-year-old Max from Farlington were presented with medals for completing the feat, which saw the energetic pair raise £1,288 in support of the NHS.

Proud mum Naouele, who was due to run in the postponed race, said: ‘The boys completed their challenge in 10 days and were extremely proud to have raised such a huge amount.

‘So many people completed challenges this weekend to mark the London Marathon day so it was nice to celebrate it. It also gave them a good sense of how long a marathon is.’

Five residents of Roundway in Waterlooville ran a marathon around their street to raise funds for Portsmouth NHS. Pictured: Mimi Wilson, 10, cycling around to support the runners.