WHAT started as a joke became gruelling reality when a team of intrepid architects took on one of the world’s toughest marathons for charity.
Vicky Saunders, Leanne Taylor, Manuel Atkinson and Emma Cross, who work at BTP Architects in Stockport, Greater Manchester, took part in the Great Wall Marathon in China in aid of Francis House Children’s Hospice.
“The notion of doing the Great Wall of China Marathon was initially suggested in the office as a joke as it is one of hardest marathons in the world,” said managing director Saunders.
“It was an incredible experience. The event had an amazing atmosphere. All of the villagers and their children came out to cheer us on, which really kept us going.
“We’re all really proud to have successfully completed this challenge and to have raised funds for a cause close to our hearts.”
The gruelling race, which attracts about 2,500 runners from across the globe, involves climbing 5,164 steps in sweltering conditions.
“We have competed in half-marathons before, but never something as difficult as this,” Saunders added. “The heat and terrain made it a really challenge, but we were determined to get to the finish line.”
The quartet raised more than £1,000 for Francis House, which provides care and support to children and young adults with life-limiting or life-threatening conditions, and their families.
BTP Architects has been fundraising for the Manchester hospice since 2016, collecting more than £1,600 in total, having previously taken part in the Great Manchester 10K and Half Marathon runs.
“We really appreciate BTP’s fantastic support and fundraising efforts over the past three years,” said Julie Williams, fundraising officer from Francis House. “As a charity we rely on the generosity of people to provide 88 per cent of our income. The funds they have raised help us to offer a lifeline to more than 500 families across Greater Manchester who are in the greatest need.”
Readers can help BTP support the charity at the team’s Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/btp-ninjas