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Football club ‘giving back’ after Covid with epic 4,000km run for county’s hospitals

PUBLISHED: 10:43 17 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:53 17 July 2020

From left to right: Ben Burcham, Mike Ball, Josh Walpole, Rob Mattocks, and Ryan Labrum. Five of the 20 runners takign part. Photo: Ben Burcham

From left to right: Ben Burcham, Mike Ball, Josh Walpole, Rob Mattocks, and Ryan Labrum. Five of the 20 runners takign part. Photo: Ben Burcham

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A village football club is taking on a monumental run to support Norfolk’s hospitals after their work through the pandemic.

20 men from Norton Athletic FC, in the village of Norton Subcourse near Loddon, will be running more than 4,000km to raise funds for the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.. Photo: Ben Burcham20 men from Norton Athletic FC, in the village of Norton Subcourse near Loddon, will be running more than 4,000km to raise funds for the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.. Photo: Ben Burcham

20 men from Norton Athletic FC, in the village of Norton Subcourse near Loddon, will be running more than 4,000km to raise funds for the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

The club, who have previously helped out local groups such as the village playschool, say this is their biggest charitable cause to date.

With 100pc of proceeds going equally to both hospitals, 20 men from the club’s five teams will be running a staggering 4,194.8km in 31 days, roughly totalling 210km for each member, who will have to run nearly 8km per day.

The distance was selected as it was the furthest the teams had travelled in their time playing against European village teams.

A village football club are taking on a monumental run to support Norfolk’s hospitals after their work through the pandemic. Photo: Ben BurchamA village football club are taking on a monumental run to support Norfolk’s hospitals after their work through the pandemic. Photo: Ben Burcham

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“In 2011, we travelled to Vilnius in Lithuania, so this was our route,” said club manager Ben Burcham, 31.

He added: “We wanted to give something back and it’s quite different as in normal situations we would have looked at arranging running to Vilnius, but with restrictions in place across Europe it isn’t achievable. So we will run the distance in the UK.”

Men of all ages, from the club’s first team, reserves, Sunday team, and two veterans’ teams - made up of members aged 35 and above - will take part in the mammoth fundraising effort which will begin on Monday, July 20.

Donations can be made here, and updates to the run of each club member will be made to Strava so those who make donations can follow along.

Mr Burcham said: “This is very much for the whole area, for all of East Anglia. We’re doing this for everyone who has been affected in the region, wnating to give back and help everyone out.

“Anyone who can afford to put their hands in their pockets will help everyone in East Anglia.”

He added: “We just want to show our appreciation to the NHS and the wonderful job they’ve undertaken during the past few months.”


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