Burnley fan raises thousands for children's hospital after running 5k every day in 2020

A resolute Pendle dad-of-three who ran 5k every day in 2020 is "proud and tired" after completing his incredible fundraising journey.

Monday, 18th January 2021, 12:55 pm
Jamie Penswick

Jamie Penswick (31) set himself the year-long challenge to raise funds for Alder Hey Children's Hospital after doctors there saved his little boy Seb's life.

Not content with running more than 1,100 miles over the course of the year, on New Year's Eve he set off on a near 100-mile run as he attempted to make it from his home in Barrowford to Alder Hey in Liverpool, and back, in 24 hours.

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Jamie's current fundraising total stands at £11,795 - people can still donate here - and he said he was grateful to every single person who had donated throughout the year.

"I never thought for one second I would raise this amount", said Jamie, who lives in Barrowford with wife Natalie, Sebastian (six) and the couple's two other young children Rupert and Margo.

"Granada Reports did a piece on me that aired on ITV between Boxing Day and New Year's Eve. That day, 200 JustGiving emails filled my inbox saying people had donated. I couldn't believe it. One woman who I've never met gave me £150 instead of doing a 'Secret Santa'.

"I think I was on about £3,500 at the time and the amount practically doubled overnight. I've tried contacting each person individually. I can't thank them enough."

Jamie's son, Sebastian, was rushed to Alder Hey shortly after he was born, suffering from heart complications.

Surgeons were able to widen one of the valves in Sebastian's heart, and after seven days, Jamie and his wife Natalie brought their little boy home.

The #365forseb challenge started as a way for Jamie to lose a bit of weight, but quickly morphed into a gruelling year-long charity challenge.

"The 5ks were tough," said the former Fisher More High School pupil. "There were parts of it, some days, when I felt absolutely great. Other parts were the pits.

"I am really proud of it. It was so important that I stuck to that. There were times when I felt ill, and people said leave it today and do a 10k tomorrow instead. But that wasn't the challenge.

"It's inspired a lot of people to get out running, which is really nice."

Jamie decided to tag on the New Year's Eve 100-mile 'bonus' run because of the extra leap year day.

He was only able to fit in one 30-mile training run before the big day, and said the freezing temperatures and heavy snow, along with two run-weary legs, pushed him right to the limit.

"I set off at midnight and took a wrong turn on the bypass straight away," he said. "I ended up going up a massive hill which added three miles on to my journey. So it wasn't the best start.

"It was -5 degrees when I set off. The cold was bad. It was really difficult keeping my body temperature up. I had a backpack full of food and gels. Every two hours I would stop to fill up my pockets, so the energy gels were easy to reach. It took about two minutes but by the time I was setting off again I was freezing. I couldn't get warm enough, quick enough.

"By the time I got to Chorley it was snowing heavily. When I got to Alder Hey I was in a bad way.

"I knew I wasn't going to be able to make it home. I set off back but I couldn't put food in, and I couldn't keep my body temperature up. I got in the car and put out a Facebook post saying I was done and how disappointed I was.

"When I got home I passed out straight away, and slept pretty much for the length of time I'd been running – 16 hours. When I woke up I had loads of messages saying 'well done'.

"Once I stopped sulking I cut myself some slack. I'd done two marathons back-to-back, having only ran over 26 miles once. I'm proud of the distance I ran, and proud of the amount raised."

As for his next challenge...

"There's a few things I'm looking at. Whatever I do it will be to raise money for Alder Hey."