Boy takes on 100km run with mum

Zach Collison from Horsham with his mum Jennie SUS-180904-111712001
Zach Collison from Horsham with his mum Jennie SUS-180904-111712001

Running is nothing new to seven-year-old Zach Collison and his mum Jennie.

They are both keen runners, with Zach completing his first 5km run at the age of four, and his first 10km the following year.

But for 2018, the mother and son team from Horsham wanted to do something a bit different, and set themselves the challenge of running 100km during the month of March – all to raise money for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice. They ran a total of 107km and have raised £882 to date.

After deciding to take on a running challenge for charity, Zach and Jennie set about researching who they wanted to fundraise for, and decided on their local children’s hospice.

Jennie said: “I’m a keen runner and Zach is very sporty. He enjoys anything active – running, football, rugby, and we both love a challenge!

“When we first started talking about running a long distance across a month, I suggested 75km but Zach wanted to do more, saying we should go for 100km.

“I left the charity decision totally up to Zach. From the outset, he knew he wanted to support a children’s charity, to help children less fortunate than himself, so I helped him research the different options. I’m delighted he chose Chestnut Tree House, as it’s local to us, they rely heavily on the support of the local community, and they do so much to help, not only children with life-shortening conditions, but also their families.”

Jennie and Zach ran almost daily during March, with the occasional rest day. Even the ‘Beast from the East’ at the start of the month didn’t stop them as they took to the treadmill at a local gym when the conditions were too icy outside.

Jennie said: “We ran various distances and fitted it in whenever we could – before school, after school, even at lunchtime.

“One day Zach’s headteacher at Handcross Park School joined us for a run during lunch break.

“I’m so proud of Zach and it has been wonderful to get so much support from our friends and family. We’re delighted to be raising money for such a worthwhile cause.”

In its 15th birthday year, Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice wants to inspire everyone to make every moment count.

Supporters like Jennie and Zach, seizing the moment with their unique 100km running challenge, will really make a difference. They will help the charity to help families live for today, for tomorrow, for the Now.

Jayne Todd, community fundraiser at Chestnut Tree House said: “All of our supporters are important to us, but there is something very special about someone so young really engaging with what we do and wanting to raise money for us.

“We are extremely grateful to Zach and Jennie for taking on this running challenge and raising vital funds for Chestnut Tree House. We need to raise £6,850 a day to provide all our specialist care services – both at the hospice and in families’ own homes – so the support of the local community, and people like Zach and Jennie, is invaluable to us.

“The £882 they have raised will pay for a child to spend a night at Chestnut Tree House, and give another the chance to visit for a ‘Stay and Play’ session.

“Ultimately, support like this helps us to continue helping life-limited children across Sussex and South East Hampshire.”

Find out more about Zach and Jennie’s 100km running challenge at www.justgiving.com/zachandjennie

Chestnut Tree House opened its doors in 2003 and currently provides care and support to around 300 children with life-shortening conditions and their families across Sussex and South East Hampshire – both at the hospice and in families’ own homes.

For more information visit www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk