Cumbrian businesses line up to support marathon challenge


Cumbrian business are stepping up to support a woman pushing her body to its limits in a mammoth challenge.

Emily Parsons is preparing to take on a mega journey, when she runs from St Bees to Newcastle in six days.

Averaging more than a marathon a day, the 32-year-old will then finish off her fundraiser by taking on the Great North Run – a half marathon in itself – on day seven.

Following Wainwright's Coast to Coast route as far as Richmond, before heading north, Emily will be plodding up hills and down dales as she attempts to raise £5,000 for the Brain Tumour Charity.

With the average pair of running shoes lasting between 400 and 500 miles, she is already burning through them. In a bid to help keep her moving, two separate Cumbrian businesses have stepped up to help.

Chivers Sports, Carlisle's independent sports shop based in Abbey Street, was the first to agree to donate a pair of trainers.

Last week they handed over a brand new pair of Hoka One One Challenger shoes, designed for ultramarathon runners and perfect for Emily's miles across the Lake District fells.

Gordon Steele, from Chivers, said: “The right shoes can make all the difference to a runner - and Emily has a fair way to run, so we wanted to help her on her way. It is a mammoth challenge but for a very worthy cause."

And, with a gruelling training schedule, and those shoes set to wear out before she even begins her challenge, Flimby-based New Balance is also helping out.

The sports brand his donating running clothes and a pair of road trainers to Emily, who works as News & Star news editor.

A spokeswoman said: “New Balance is proud to be able to support such an outstanding endeavour and we wish Emily every success in completing her phenomenal challenge.”

She will split her training between the two pairs, ensuring both are broken in and ready to last the distance.

Emily is tackling the self-devised challenge in support of a close friend. Rachel Cole, 36, from Rowlands Gill, was diagnosed with a brain tumour last September.

While there is no cure – and neither she, husband Graham nor her family dares ask for a life expectancy – she is determined to make each day count, creating precious memories for her four-year-old daughter Jennifer and son Leo, one.

“As we get closer to the challenge the reality of what I'm planning to do hits home,” admitted Emily, of Stockdalewath near Dalston.

“This is not the first battle Rachel's family has had to endure: her brother Graeme Turner died of a brain tumour in 2006. My motivation is to raise as much money as possible to ensure no other parents are forced to watch both their children fight this devastating battle.

“Running and training is rapidly taking over my life, and I'm terrified of what I'm embarking on. However, to have Cumbrian businesses like Chivers and New Balance help me out is truly amazing and takes a little of the pressure and stress away.

“I am incredibly grateful to both of them.”

Emily sets off on her challenge on Monday, September 4. Follow her challenge at or visit

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