A community-spirited local running club have pounded the pavements all the way to ‘Edinburgh Castle’ for Bluebell Wood, all without leaving the safety of their local streets.

The 27-strong team from the Killamarsh Kestrels have clocked up a whopping 390km between them in their virtual relay fundraiser.

Each runner took on a 10 or 20km stretch of the relay, which took them ‘virtually’ from Killamarsh Leisure Centre to the heights of Edinburgh Castle.

Spurred on by a desire to support a local charity while bringing the club together in these uncertain times, the Kestrels have already tripled their initial fundraising target.

Chris Brown, who helped organise the event with a group of fellow Kestrels, said the relay has given members something to focus on.

“I know it’s been difficult for some of our members to find the time and motivation during lockdown, so the virtual relay has really helped us pull together for such an important cause,” said dad-of-two Chris, 47, from Halfway.

“When you’re running as a club it really helps you to motivate one another, but it can be tough to find that motivation when you’re going out solo.

“This has really made people feel that they are running for a cause, and we’ve had great fun and lots of banter between us."

“I’m really proud of all the club. We always support each other and this just illustrates how we’ve all pulled together.” 

One runner even managed to zig-zag his way around Rother Valley Country Park to spell out Bluebell Wood in a popular app used for tracking exercise. 

As well as the funds raised through the virtual relay, the club has donated its existing charity collection - and some entrants to an event the club has had to cancel have kindly donated their entry fees to boost the fundraiser. This means the Kestrels’ grand total now stands at over £880 for Bluebell Wood.

Sally Baker, Community Fundraising Manager at Bluebell Wood, said: “We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone at the club for going above and beyond for Bluebell Wood. It’s also fantastic to hear you’ve got so much out of it as a club.

“Your hard-work and generosity will help us continue to be there for some of the most vulnerable children in our communities at a time when they need our help more than ever.”

You can support the Kestrels fundraiser here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/killamarsh-kestrelstothecastle

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