South West-based payroll manager Liz Grange will be counting every mile when she dons her trainers to complete an ultramarathon later this year to raise money in memory of her sister.
Liz, who is from Stroud and works for accountancy and law firm Optimum Professional Services, will be tackling the 50km (31 mile) run on 23rd September. All her fundraising will go towards Optimum’s charity of the year, Swindon and Gloucestershire Mind.
Liz’s sister, Naomi Benneyworth, passed away in 2022, after struggling for many years with mental health issues. Swindon and Gloucestershire Mind was a charity close to Naomi’s heart.
“I sadly lost my wonderful sister Naomi last year, and am so passionate about fundraising for local mental health charities. She was a fantastic auntie and so close to my three boys,” said Liz, who is mum to Zach, six, Cass, four and one-year-old Jude. “Naomi at least had support, having struggled with her mental health since her teenage years, but so many people are unable to reach out. This is why charities like Swindon and Gloucestershire Mind are so important.”
Liz took up running before lockdown and carried on all through her third pregnancy. She has now ramped up her regular runs to complete 30-plus miles a week, and is following a training programme. Although she has taken part in half-marathons, she’s never tackled a full marathon, let alone an ultramarathon.
Liz is tracking her progress through the online running community Strava, which has a Miles for Mind initiative; this encourages runners to challenge themselves and raise funds at the same time, in support of mental health charities.
“If all goes well,” she continued, “I hope to complete the run in about six hours. I’ve plotted the route and I have a few running friends who hope to join me here and there, at different stages.”
Tracey Heath, Operations Director at Swindon and Cheltenham-based Optimum, said, “We’re so proud and admiring of Liz and the effort she is putting in to raise money for such a great cause. It’s why we chose Swindon and Gloucestershire Mind as our company’s charity of the year. We wish her well and will be rooting for her on the day.”
Liz hopes to raise at least £2,500 for Swindon and Gloucestershire Mind. To support Liz, visit her JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/page/liz-grange-miles-for-mind.
For more about Optimum, visit: optps.co.uk
Pictured above: Liz Grange with her youngest son Jude, in training for the ultramarathon