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West Midlands Police Federation

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Marathon efforts for ACC

8 August 2019

Inspired by Assistant Chief Constable Chris Johnson’s approach to being diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND), West Midlands Police Federation representative Trudy Gittins has signed up to run Liverpool’s Rock and Roll Marathon next year and is calling on other officers and police staff to join her.

Trudy, a DS in the organisational learning and development department, wants to raise as much money as she can for the Motor Neurone Disease Association, the charity that funds research into the disease and offers support to those with the disease and their families.

“I watched the really powerful interview the ACC and his wife, Sharon, gave on Good Morning Britain’s breakfast TV show last Friday in which they talked about their journey through MND,” says Trudy.

“Along with both their courage and humility, what struck me about the interview was how the funds raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge a few years ago had helped the Motor Neurone Disease Association make real in-roads into finding a cure for MND and the emphasis on how this cure could become a reality within our lifetime.

“This made me think that we could come together as a policing family and be part of this, and in some way make small steps towards helping Chris, Sharon and their family, live their best life.

“MND attacks the nerves in the brain and spinal cord and could happen to anyone at any time; a person’s risk of developing the disease is around 1 in 300. It does not discriminate and most people would never want to take their mind to how it must feel to have it.”

Trudy will take part in the Rock and Roll Marathon on Sunday 24 May 2020 and wants as many other officers and staff to join her in running to raising funds for the charity. There is also a half marathon the same day.

She has already encouraged 14 people within the Force to join her in taking on the marathon and has also spread the word as far as Australia. Her friend Sarah Sprague, who emigrated to Australia, is planning to run a race on the same day as the Liverpool event to raise awareness of MND in Oz.

Meanwhile Trudy is aware of the challenge she has set herself and hopes colleagues will share her passion to do something to show support for the ACC.

She explained: “It is way out of my comfort zone. It’s going to be tough as hell fitting the training in around working full-time, four children, a hectic life and winter training conditions.  There are lots of barriers that could get in the way.

“But when you think about MND, there is nothing more motivating when things feel tough.  WMP is a huge family who are at their very best when they support each other.   The half marathon in particular is a goal that, with the right mindset, support and training you could set yourself even if you’ve never run before. 

“The benefits of running are immense but for this goal it has the added benefits of supporting Chris and his family.  I have also discovered an existing Facebook community called ‘RUN MND’ where their motto is #no finish line until there is a cure for MND.  That is exactly where we want to get too.”

Chris has welcomed Trudy’s efforts, saying:  “Thank you to everyone involved.  This is α truly wonderful thing to do.  It’s been α difficult time but I can honestly say things like this, where great people are prepared to do something to help raise awareness and support, is genuinely uplifting.”

You can sign up to the Liverpool half or full marathon here

Please also get in touch with Trudy to let her know that you’ve joined the team and please share this plea for recruitment with your own personal and working networks. 

Alternatively, if you think you can help by raising awareness and funds for MND in another way, please also contact Trudy. 

You can also contact the occupational health and wellbeing fitness advisers for further training support.  They regularly hold ‘Couch to 5K’ training programmes.

Challenge yourself… who’s in?