Husband and wife set to go head to head in Leeds Half Marathon

A Sue Ryder nurse and her hospice volunteer husband are going head to head in the Leeds Half Marathon this weekend, in the hope of raising vital funds for the charity close to their hearts.

By Richard Beecham
Tuesday, 3rd May 2022, 4:45 am

Sarah Norman, 52, a Community Nurse Specialist at Sue Ryder Wheatfields and her husband, Andy Norman, 51, who volunteers with the hospice maintenance team, hope their double efforts will raise more than £500 for the charity.

The Pudsey pair are no strangers to running, being members of the local Pudsey Pacers running club and dedicated trail runners with thousands of miles raced right across the country under the belts.

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Sarah and Andy are once again set to go head to head.

However they say the Leeds Half through their home city on Sunday, May 8 is a far more gruelling prospect, pounding the pavements at a much shorter, sharper and faster pace.

“To be honest we find it more daunting running on the road,” said Andy. “It is a different pace and we will need to control ourselves. Usually we run in miles per hour but at the Leeds Half we will be running minutes per mile and that is a completely different mindset.”

Despite the change in pace, Andy and Sarah are really looking forward to experiencing the highs of the half.

“It will be really nice to have all the crowds and the buzz around you. It is fantastic to hear your name shouted out as you pass – whether that’s people seeing your name on your running top and calling it out or if they know you,” said Sarah. “There will be lots of support for Sue Ryder runners from the hospice team there on the day and there will be support from our fellow members of Pudsey Pacers too.

“It will be lovely at the start line and the finish to have such great support there. There will be people taking on the Leeds Half for Sue Ryder for the very first time, so it will be lovely for us to support them on their way around too. We’re looking forward to experiencing some real community spirit.”

Sarah has worked as a Community Nurse Specialist at Sue Ryder Wheatfields for 21 years. She say it is the patients she cares for which inspire her to raise vital funds so more people can receive the care she helps deliver.

She said: “As a community nurse at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice I see my patients and their families facing daily challenges beyond anything we’ve ever had to endure. And it is this which gives us the strength to keep on pushing, running to raise funds for the hospice.”

“Sue Ryder is such a caring and inclusive organisation. The best thing about doing my job is just how rewarding it is,” adds Sarah. “It is such an honour to be there for people at what is such an important and emotional time in their lives.

“Most people think that the job is depressing and there are days when I am sad, but there are days when I see a patient we have helped make more comfortable and it makes it so worthwhile.”

Inspired by the care his wife gives, Andy has been volunteering at the hospice for the past three years too.

“I work for myself so have the time available to volunteer and I really enjoy hands on DIY practical problem solving tasks,” said Andy. “I love what Sue Ryder is doing, the people and the building. It is a really great place to be. Everyone says hello and I have found other friends who volunteer here by coincidence too. It has been great to see them again.”

“I currently volunteer once or twice a week cleaning gutters, chopping down bushes, testing emergency lighting and the water, painting and decorating, carrying out maintenance repairs and helping to move beds. I really enjoy it.

“Through my volunteering and our fundraising it has been amazing to discover how many people we know have a connection with Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice. So many people from different parts of our lives have had an experience with the hospice.”

The couple say they are humbled by the support they receive from others in their running and fundraising endeavours too. “We get a lot of support from people who have been helped by Sue Ryder,” adds Andy. “When friends speak to us after they have seen us running in our Sue Ryder tops and we get to know about their connection with the charity it really catches you a bit.”

“We’d like to thank everyone who has supported us in our running and fundraising before and continue to support us now,” adds Sarah. “It means so much to us how everyone continues to support us and Sue Ryder.”

And as for who is going to win on the day?

“When we are trail running we don’t compete and we share the experience together,” shares Andy. “But the Leeds Half is off limits and we will run at it our own speed and we will race each other a bit.

“If it is a hot day I have a better chance of catching Andy!” added Sarah.

Andy agreed: “Sarah is good running in the heat and uphill but I am stronger running downhill in the rain. We will see who crosses the finish line first when the sun comes up the morning of the Half!”

To donate to Sarah and Andy’s fundraising visit their online giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Sarah-AndyNorman

If Andy and Sarah’s running adventures motivate you to lace up your trainers there are plenty of running or walking events you can take on to support Sue Ryder. Visit www.sueryder.org/events for some inspiration

For more information on Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice visit www.sueryder.org/wheatfields