Lions rally round to help club member reach her goal

Stainland Lions'  Joanne Cooke
Stainland Lions' Joanne Cooke

What do you do when the half marathon you’ve planned to run all year is washed-out? If you’re a Stainland Lion, you organise your own.

Joanne Cooke set herself the target of running 10 half-marathons in 2015. Her aim was to raise £1,000 for Cancer Research in memory of her father who died in 2005.

Stainland Lions'  Joanne Cooke

Stainland Lions' Joanne Cooke

Everything was going great – running injuries aside - and a bus full of Lions were aiming to run her home at the Lancaster half-marathon.

That was until Storm Desmond put in its devastating appearance and washed away parts of the course and did much worse across the North.

Not to be deterred the Lions opted to stage their own final half for Jo and around 30 runners plus support crew threw one together in an afternoon.

Sunday saw an impromptu restaging of the old Hilly Halifax Half Marathon, complete with water stations and a proper finish line.

Stainland Lions'  Joanne Cooke's

Stainland Lions' Joanne Cooke's

The weather managed to throw in a sample of all the conditions Jo experienced over the last 12 months but enthusiasm pulled everyone through.

As Jo has collected a medal at each race there was a bit of a scrabble on Saturday afternoon to ensure that she received the usual medal and t-shirt – both Halifax Halfs, courtesy of the trophy boxes most Lions have at home.

After a hilly 13.1 miles around Beacon Hill, Jo was clapped home, completing her last half in 2 hours 18 minutes.

Afterwards Jo said: “What a fantastic end to my fundraising challenge

“It was not the final half I’d intended but it was even better than I could’ve hoped for. I even got a medal, T-shirt and card.

“I’m so, so proud to be part of such a wonderful club. Without them I wouldn’t have managed to complete this challenge.”