Out of the 199 runners who took part in Barnsley parkrun on Saturday, there is one lady who deserves a special mention.
Sixteen year-old Katie Lee is an inspiration. Katie organised a special parkrun fundraising event, which was part of Epilepsy Action’s Purple Day, an international day dedicated to increasing epilepsy awareness. Every March 26th, people around the world wear people and host events to raise awareness of the condition that affects 50 million people.
Katie knows how challenging living with epilepsy can be. She was diagnosed when she was younger and has been through some tough times, but she refuses to let the condition rule her life. Katie takes part in Barnsley parkrun week in, week out. I have to say that it’s one of the toughest parkruns in the country. I’ve only done 11 races there. Katie has done 77.
I wanted to support Katie, so dug out a purple running top. It was more a summer, warm-weather running top, so wasn’t really ideal given the stormy conditions. It would have to do! Chris struggled to find anything purple. ‘I’m not a purple person,’ he said. He only got away with it because his trainers are purple.
We arrived at Locke Park very early. I wanted to get a good warm up in before tackling the beast that is Barnsley parkrun.
Katie and her family and a few friends were already there, setting up the tent, blowing up balloons, tying purple bows to trees.
‘Look at them,’ I said to Chris (meaning the people). ‘They’re amazing.’
While we grunted about how early it was and how tired we were, they focused on getting everything ready, laughing and joking and not complaining once. All we had to do was run and eat cake. Katie organised it, raced it (running her fastest time this year) and packed away. She even got a local café to serve teas and coffees.
It was a fantastic event, which raised £325.22. It had obviously taken a lot of organising, but Katie was determined it would be successful. She’s a very determined and inspirational young lady. She never fails to amaze me.
And thanks to her brother Ryan, for letting me sneak away with the last few mini rolls!