Young mum to race for a star

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A DETERMINED mum-of-two has set herself a strength-sapping challenge to help a brave youngster in Market Weighton.

Karli Petch has vowed to compete in four 10km races in Yorkshire this year, as well as the Great North Run, in a bid to raise money for Connor Lancaster.

The 11-year-old suffers from the rarest form of the condition, muscular dystrophy, a muscle-wasting disease which has no cure. Known as the Duchenne form of the illness, it is only found in boys and is said to only affect one in every 3,500 born.

Karli, who is also from Market Weighton, set her sights on completing the runs after meeting the youngster and his family last year.

Having given birth to her own second son, the 29-year-old admits she was touched by Connor’s story and, at that time, was looking to get in shape. So far she has completed the 10km runs in Beverley, Hull and Harrogate, having improved her performances each time.

She still has Leeds to run next weekend and then York in late August, before she tackles the huge Great North Run in Gateshead in September, a foot-numbing 21km.

She explained: “I’m not really a runner but I had my second son and I wanted to keep fit and meeting Connor helped give me the motivation. It’s certainly not a natural thing to me, I was quite sporty at school but I’ve never done any distances, I never dreamed I could ever run a 10k or even a half-marathon.

“I do struggle doing them but I am improving!

“The Great North Run will be the big one. I need to keep on improving to get ready for that!”

She began her running in November and now trains three times a week with friends whom she describes as her three “running buddies”.

Having approached Connor’s family, Karli set about seeking sponsorship which she secured courtesy of Market Weighton-based export firm Vindico UK Ltd, and Hull marketing company Fred, who have helped draw up professional-looking sponsor forms.

Karli has named the challenge “Race for a Star”, using the Star Wars font and theme - Connor’s favourite movies.

She has set herself a target of raising £4,000 - money she is hoping to put towards a dream trip to Disney World in Florida for Connor and his family.

“Hopefully it’s something I can give him as an ever-lasting memory,” Karli explained.

“I met Connor in November and I was instantly touched. He has a great sense of humour and he’s a very kind and caring young lad. He’s just got a new baby brother and he’s over the moon about it!

“It’s great to do this for him because the whole family are a pleasure.

“Organising this has involved so many people - my family and friends who have all taken sponsor forms to work - it’s been a massive effort.

“I have to say thank you to my husband who is left looking after the children when I go out running!”

As a grand finale to her fundraising, Karli is to hold a black-tie gala evening at the KP Club at Kilnwick Percy on 14 October, for which tickets have gone on sale.

Tickets are £45 and include a three-course meal, a live band and a charity auction to win signed sporting goods and golf lessons, among other prizes.

People and local firms are being asked if they could donate items for the auction, or sponsorship money.

Anyone interested should contact Karli on 07772 778176 or email karlipetch@hotmail.co.uk