We live in a world where superlatives are far too frequently used when relaying ordinary things. However, I am not sure we have enough superlatives for what was achieved over the weekend of the 25th & 26th June 2022, but I will try my very best to explain why.
Following the tragic loss of their son Jake, Colin and Sharon Wilkinson were approached by Jim Price with an idea to help raise awareness for the charity Brake. Brake work to stop road deaths and injuries, they support people and families affected by road crashes and campaign for safe and healthy mobility for all. The charity has supported Colin and Sharon since the passing of Jake.
Jim’s idea was to complete the Horndon 10k course during the villages Feast and Fayre weekend, but, for a total of 24 hours. Essentially, he planned to run the route starting at 12noon on the Saturday and would still be running when the Horndon 10k race started at 11am on the Sunday. He would take short breaks after each completed loop, but only to refuel, there would be no sleep breaks and only very short comfort breaks where necessary. He calculated that he would complete over 88 miles, which would be the furthest continuous distance Jim has ever run.
And so, from a tragic event and a conceptual idea, “Brake for Jake” was created.
The event took months of planning, had the support from Colin and Sharon and their family, help from their collective friends and the backing of Jim’s running community. And even when hampered by a pandemic, (which cancelled the 2021 and 2020 Horndon 10k), Jim, who is a determined individual, prepared meticulously, and was ready to go in 2022.
So, with the “Brake 4 Jake Race Headquarters” (in the form of a gazebo, table, chairs, bags of food and drink), all set up outside The Village Hall, and the clock striking 12 noon on the Saturday, Jim started what would be the first of many loops of the course.
Now this event would not be possible without the help of others. Throughout the 24 hours, Jim was surrounded by his friends, friends from the running community and even friends of friends who turned up to support him. The residents of Horndon on the Hill were also behind him, many arriving at Race HQ to ask, “what’s going on”, “how is he doing”, “can we donate please”. Many locals who enjoyed the live music at The Swan Pub on Saturday evening put money in the charity pot as they walked past, and many of them put more money in the pot when they staggered back.
The Race HQ was marshalled on a rota basis, including people who originally hadn’t put their names down who arrived willing to help and wanting to get involved. Jim had organised to have support runners at each of the loops that he was completing. Again, some people who wanted to run one loop, ended up running more, and some of the running community who didn’t plan to run at all, arrived, because they wanted to be a part of the event and show solidarity for this amazing running feat. And although Jim would never want to mention any one single person, there was a story which emerged during the night which embodied what was unfolding and being achieved.
Joe Dickens, (a friend of Neil Colley) and therefore “a friend of a friend of Jim’s” (they had never met before the day), arrived at 10pm. Neil was running a loop and Joe decided to join him. Collectively, Neil, Joe and their other friends Callum Cousins and Lee Clements ran one loop. Well, one loop then became two loops and then when Neil needed to leave at around 1am, Joe (remember, a stranger to Jim until Saturday evening), decided to accompany Jim for three further loops running throughout the night and accumulating a total of 30 miles. He didn’t know Jim before - I’m sure they are the firmest of friends now.
And (as the author), I would personally like to take the liberty of mentioning someone else who truly deserves her own plaudits. Caroline Levy (Jim’s girlfriend) spent 30 hours at Race HQ. At midnight on the Saturday, we tried encouraging Caroline to get some sleep, albeit even for an hour or so. She lasted 10 minutes before re-emerging from the back of Martin Orford’s van saying, “I can’t sleep, I’ve tried……….., honestly”. Caroline spent the entire event supporting Jim, removing socks, making tea, preparing food, applying plasters, removing t-shirts, and constantly checking on his welfare. She did all of this without hesitation, and with the most beaming smile across her face – well done Caroline, you were amazing.
Having completed 14 loops (a total of 84 miles), Jim decided to take a much-deserved break and prepared himself for the Horndon 10k race and what would be his final loop. Again, surrounded by a community of runners, Jim, and his group of 20+ support runners covered the final loop as they completed the race whilst being cheered and applauded by hundreds of spectators. At the finish line, Jim, Colin, and Sharon, all three wearing yellow Brake Charity vests led the group home in what was an emotional, yet tremendously humbling and an inspirational achievement.
As I write, the event has attracted a total of £1,829.25 in donations for Brake, together with raising awareness for the charity, which was Jim’s aim. And by the way………………Jim ran 90 miles in total – what an achievement.
I started by mentioning superlatives. I think they are used far too often for everyday occurrences, but this event, well, this event should attract every single one within the dictionary and any others which you can imagine. So, rather than me trying to find more words, I have written direct quotes taken from those people who were there, and who have shared this amazing and inspirational event across social media.
Some Jim quotes and thanks
“We can’t change things but when good people come together, we can help, Brake 4 Jake team are all amazing, good people”
“A special shout out to the amazing Caroline Levy for being there for what must have been 30 hours without sleep, for putting up with my moaning and keeping me smiling even when I was puking”.
“And Joe Dickens for turning up and running through the night and must have run 30 miles with me, Joe you’re a top bloke and I can’t thank you enough”
“Big thanks to all of Pitsea Running Club and Phoenix Striders, both clubs coming together as one to show Colin and Sharon how much they mean to us all”
Some quotes from people who attended
“You are amazing and made all this happen. I’m truly proud to be by your side xxx”
“Well done Jim, great work, you’re a machine mate”
“Incredible what you all achieved, happy to play a small part”
“Amazing achievement Jim, and an honour to be part of it with you all”
“So proud to be part of this, well done everyone x”
“Amazing achievement, very grateful to have been a part of it x”
“So proud you let me be part of something so amazing and I’m proud how two running clubs came together and united as one, amazing”
“Thanks again Jim, you are amazing for doing this”
“What an amazing achievement Jim, happy to help anytime”
“Proud of you and humbled to have been part of both sides”
“A top weekend, so happy to be a part of something so special”
“We, as a family, can never thank you enough for what you did – a weekend that will never be forgotten”
“Amazing weekend mate x”
“Well done Jim and well done everyone, great to be a part of the run team”
“A phenomenal achievement Jim. Playing a very small part of your amazing journey felt very humbling”
“Amazing, well done”
“Well done Jim, a truly remarkable thing to do, like everyone else, I was glad to be there to help in a small way”
“Amazing and thank you Jim for letting me be a part of your amazing weekend”
“You did the hard part Jim. Glad to have been a part of this. Well done Caroline Levy as well”
“Feel privileged to be part of the event. Thank you Jim. Oh and by the way, you make SO much noise when puking”
“It was a pleasure to be a tiny part of such an amazing and enormous achievement – be proud Jim, you can hold your head high. You have raised awareness for such a worthy cause albeit in such tragic circumstances. Well done to you and to Caroline too, what a rock of support and all with a smile. Well done both”
“Thank you Jim for everything you do for others ! You are a truly awesome dude”
“Thank you Jim for letting me a part of this, I was only there for a few hours but I absolutely loved being a part of it. You are an inspiration to us all xx”
“Well done Jim lad, legend”
I witnessed something amazing over the weekend of the 25th & 26th June 2022. As Jim remarked, “when good people come together, we can help”, and he is spot on. Those who supported entirely ignored any running club identity that they are associated with, they may well have worn their club colours, but so what, importantly, they united to embrace an amazing feat for the sole purpose of supporting Jim, Colin, and Sharon. They encouraged each other, they shared this event together, I watched people who had rarely spoken before chatting like long lost friends, lots of smiling, plenty of laughter, and at the finish line, emotions including hugs and tears but without any inhibitions.
These people, these good people, showed what wonderful things can happen when determination and positivity combine, and I, well I can’t begin to explain how proud I was to be a part of it.
Well done, Colin, Sharon and Jim – you did Jake proud.
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