Marathon nut’s appealing challenge

INSPIRED BY MEGAN: Jem Smith is pledging to run four marathons in four days to raise money for our Megan Roper appeal.
INSPIRED BY MEGAN: Jem Smith is pledging to run four marathons in four days to raise money for our Megan Roper appeal.
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A MARATHON-MAD Sudbury man is ready to face his toughest challenge yet in support of our Megan Roper appeal, writes Elliot Pinkham.

Jem Smith, from St Bartholomews Lane, has completed 16 marathons, two hill-running and cycling duathlons and a 30-mile race, but has now been inspired by Megan’s plight to run 26.2 miles every day for four days in The Great Barrow Challenge.

“I have been reading about her in the Free Press and I just found it so sad,” said 38-year-old Jem. “I have kids of my own and I realise how upsetting the whole situation must be for the family.”

Four-year-old Megan suffers from an undiagnosed condition which leaves her severely disabled, unable to talk or feed herself and suffering from blurred vision.

Her parents Carl and Sarah are fundraising to adapt their Long Melford home to better suit their daughter’s needs and the Free Press is urging people to help in any way they can to reach the £20,000 target.

“I thought: ‘I run all the time and if I can raise money for someone local as well, then why not’,” said Jem.

Having been a member of Sudbury Joggers for 11 years, he is not underestimating the challenge of undertaking the 100-mile feat in September.

“Usually after one marathon I can’t walk the next day,” he said. “To run two would be a challenge but to do four will be something different entirely.”

Jem, who is married to Carol Wadley-Smith and has two children, Bradley, 11, and Caitlin, nine, will be handing out sponsorship forms in Sudbury pubs and businesses over the coming weeks.

Mrs Roper expressed her gratitude for the efforts of Mr Smith and the many other supporters who have backed our appeal so far.

“We are finding that the community is really getting involved which is so nice,” she said. “It is commendable that people will give up their time to help us.

q Anyone wishing to sponsor Mr Smith should contact him on 07779 498405.