Sunday, 20 November 2016

Dark running in Old Buckenham

Part of a worldwide run
As darkness fell last Wednesday 16 November, and as most people were settling down in front of their televisions, the runners of Old Buckenham were putting on their running shoes and heading for the door. They were taking part in the "Run In The Dark" charity event - a global community of runners who are supporting the effort to find a cure for paralysis due to spinal cord injury and to reduce the impact paralysis has on people's lives.

The Run In The Dark is a global event that happens in November every year and consists of a 5 or 10 km run in the dark. This year there were over 25,000 runners around the world taking part in the event from Brisbane, Dubai, Moscow, Belfast, New York, Los Angeles and of course Old Buckenham. 
The event is in aid of a charity set up by Mark Pollock to fund research into finding a cure for paralysis due to spinal cord injury. Mark Pollock was born with an eye disorder but that did not stop him from enjoying life to the full. An avid rower, he won bronze and silver medals for Northern Ireland at the Commonwealth Games in Manchester 2002. At the age of 22 he lost his sight completely. He became an adventure athlete and motivational speaker. He was the first blind person to ever to walk to the South Pole. But a second tragedy struck in 2010 when he fell from a 2nd storey window and broke his back and was left paralysed. Mark is now fighting through life, deciding how to overcome this second tragic turn of events. He is a pioneer of medical science, exploring the frontiers of spinal cord injury recovery through aggressive physical therapy and robotic technology.
The event was organised in the village by Chris Clarke, who is an old school friend of Mark Pollock. Chris wanted to support his friend and his charity 'The Mark Pollock Trust', in support of the cause of finding a cure for paralysis. Chris organised the event in Old Buckenham last year and on each occasion there have been about 45 participants. The run started at the Ox and Plough pub and proceeded along a route past the windmill, through Stacksford, along Fen Street and then back to the pub. This year was a great success with over £900 raised for the Mark Pollock trust (which matches the amount that was raised last year). Chris hopes that the event will become an annual one in the village and is aiming for over 50 runners next year.
You can find out more about Mark Pollock here or if you're interested in taking part next year please join the Old Buckenham Run In the Dark Facebook Group here:
Chris Clarke would like to say thank you to Ben Devlin at the Ox and Plough for allowing his pub to be used as as the start and finish, to Roger Peacock and David Hannah for being safety marshals, and to Anna and Rebecca Bennett for helping with the organisation on the night.

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