An epic challenge from the backroom staff at Wolves, running 10km every day during the month of December, has raised over £11,000 to help kick start the Tour De France fundraising for former Molineux midfielder Geoff Thomas.
Wolves’ backroom trio Phil Hayward, Danny Fishwick and Mathew Pearson were joined by Wolves fan David Taylor, a friend of Phil’s, to defy the festive football schedules and their own Christmas celebrations to round off 2019 with the impressive challenge.
Fans, players and staff have supported the quartet who have also raffled and auctioned off signed Wolves items to raise a fantastic total, which has now been officially handed over to Cure Leukaemia CEO James McLaughlin and Geoff, the former England midfielder who spent four years at the club from 1993-97.
“Some of the lads on the medical staff would have spent a fair bit of time with me when I was at the club as sadly I was in the treatment room for a couple of years,” says Thomas.
“Seriously though, it’s a great achievement for them to complete their challenge, and one thing to remember about any endurance challenge is that the test is mental as well as physical.
“Having to get up and go again day after day is tough, but these guys have done really well not only with all the running but to raise such a great amount of money.
“It’s a great achievement and something they should be very proud of.”
The idea for the challenge originated after a similar effort carried out in November by staff at Rotherham United, led by the Millers’ Performance Manager, Ross Burbeary.
The staff chose to support Cure Leukaemia on the back of the fantastic fundraising led by Wolves fans following the diagnosis with leukaemia of goalkeeper Carl Ikeme – now thankfully in remission – back in 2017.
“We fancied giving the challenge a go, and we wanted to support a charity which was close to home,” said Mathew, a First Team Performance Analyst.
“With the way the fans got behind Carl, and the links with Cure Leukaemia, we decided it would be a great cause to support.”
Carrying out the daily runs in such a busy month provided its own challenges, not only around Christmas but also the hectic fixture list, which also included a few days away at a training camp with the Wolves squad.
“The schedule meant we ended up running in many different places – Norwich, Brighton…and Marbella,” explained first team sports rehabilitator Danny Fishwick.
“We probably didn’t get the chance to run together as much as we would have liked because of everyone’s schedules but we all made sure we completed the 10km every single day.
“We had plenty of aches and pains - as you would probably expect - but overall it went really well.”
Cure Leukaemia CEO James McLaughlin was hugely appreciative of the effort of the Wolves quartet, who kindly agreed that their donation will kick start Geoff’s fundraising as he takes on his final Tour De France in June.
GT15 will see Geoff and a team of 20 amateur cyclists ride the full Tour de France, one day ahead of the professionals, in a bid to raise £1million for Cure Leukaemia.
“It was great to visit the Wolves training ground to thank the guys personally for putting in such a magnificent effort over the 31 days at what is such a busy time to be working at a football club,” said James.
“Their efforts take the total to £165,000 that has now been raised by Wolves fans which is a truly phenomenal amount of money which has had such a positive impact on the lives of people with leukaemia.
“People taking on crazy challenges like this is what keeps the charity moving forward and helping more and more patients, which will become even more important now that we have gone national by supporting 12 Blood Cancer Centres across the country.”
Inspired by Phil, Danny and Mathew's amazing challenge?
The Great Birmingham 10K has a new route for 2020 on Sunday May 31st - if you are a beginner or an experienced runner this is a fantastic event around the Second City. To secure your place through Cure Leukaemia email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How funds raised for Cure Leukaemia help save lives