Friends to tackle Ilkley Half Marathon in support of Leeds student

A group of friends from London will be making the journey to Leeds for the inaugural Ilkley Half Marathon in support of a loved one.

Wednesday, 10th July 2019, 3:16 pm

Anna Simpson, 25, who was originally from Ilkley, has enlisted the help of three friends to raise funds for Brain Tumour Research after her sister Pippa Simpson, 20, was diagnosed with an anaplastic pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma – a very rare form of brain cancer.

Pippa was diagnosed in February, one year after doctors discovered she had epilepsy. The diagnosis came following a precautionary MRI scan, after she became unwell during a run. Since then she has had five hours of neurosurgery to remove the tumour and a six-week course of radiotherapy.

Pippa was in her first year of a popular music course at Goldsmiths, University of London, when she was diagnosed. She now lives at home in Ilkley and attends Leeds College of Music, where she is studying music production.

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The group - Sian Iles, Helen Stevenson and Claudia Zwar, who all studied with Anna at Pembroke College at the University of Oxford - is aiming to raise at least £1,000 by completing the 13.1-mile run on July 14.

Anna, who works as a civil servant for Department for International Development (DFID) in Whitehall, said: “None of us have ever taken on a half marathon before, we are definitely more comfortable stretching for a beer across the bar than stretching our hamstrings on the racetrack!

“We couldn’t think of a better way to raise money to support people affected by brain tumours, particularly since Pippa’s journey to diagnosis started on a run. It will be an especially poignant achievement to complete the first half marathon to be organised in Ilkley, the town where Pippa and I grew up.”

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