West Sussex woman to run 100k for military charity

3 February 2015 15:32

A woman from West Sussex will be taking on a huge challenge this June by running 100k for Blind Veterans UK.

Woppy Keeling, aged 55 and from Midhurst, is taking on the challenge, along with hundreds of others, as part of the Blind Veterans UK 100k London to Brighton event, being held this June.

Woppy has always been a keen runner and wanted to push herself to the limit after participating as a walker in the military charity's 100k London to Brighton challenge last year, completing the distance in 19 hours.

Woppy says: "I've been running for about 35 years, I've done marathons, half marathons and all other kinds of events. I used to do cross country skiing and used running as a way to keep fit. Last year I walked the 100k and finished it in 19 hours, this year I hope to beat that!"

Woppy will be running the 100k challenge together with Blind Veterans UK's chairman Tim Davis.

Woppy added: "I wanted to run with someone I know and who I know to be good company. We've known each other for a long time as my husband, Andrew Keeling, was Blind Veterans UK's chairman before Tim Davis."

It is not just through her husband's affiliation with Blind Veterans UK Woppy feels strongly about supporting the charity.

She says: "I was in the Army reserve and many members of my family, from my son to my great grandfathers, have been in the Armed Forces. Because of my strong connection to the Armed Forces I find it important to support military charities.

"Blind Veterans UK does amazing work in supporting vision impaired ex-Service men and women. I've been fortunate that none of my family ever needed support but there are so many veterans and families that do. I want to help in any way I can."

Registration for the 100k, which will kick off in Putney on Saturday 6th June, is currently open with a registration fee of £50 per participant for the 50km or £75 for the 100km. Teams taking part in the relay have a registration fee of £120. The all-inclusive entrance fee for participants includes hot food at three rest stops, snacks and refreshments along the route and a free event t-shirt.

The event is Blind Veterans UK's biggest annual fundraiser and takes walkers from a starting point in south London, along the banks of the Thames, through countryside paths in Surrey, Sussex and the North and South Downs to the charity's centre in Ovingdean, Brighton.

Woppy says: "Last year, when in the early hours of the morning we came up onto the South Downs, the sea and countryside looked beautiful in the early morning light and it was a great feeling knowing we were nearly there. I'm looking forward to more of the same this year!

"All in all I would say that it was a very memorable, extremely well organised and enjoyable event but also incredibly exhausting."

Blind Veterans UK needs 500 people to take part in the 100k, which will help the charity to continue to provide a lifetime's practical and emotional support to over 4,000 veterans, regardless of when they served and how they lost their sight.

To find out more about Blind Veterans UK's 100k challenge, and to sign up for the event, visit www.blindveterans.org.uk/100k.

To support Woppy and Tim as they tackle the Blind Veterans UK 100k London to Brighton challenge, please visit www.justgiving.com/TheStriders