A MOTHER who sadly recently lost her teenage son to a terminal illness will be putting her best foot forward in a virtual road race in his memory next month.
Next month's Cheadle 4 will be run honour of schoolboy Oakley Wright, 15, from Cheadle, who lost his fight with an inoperable brain tumour in April.
Oakley is the son of Cheadle Running Club’s Jenny and Mark Dalkins, and was a talented runner himself. He represented both Staffordshire Moorlands AC and Cheadle RC. One of his major successes was winning the Potters 'Arf junior race in 2017.
Jenny told the Times & Echo newspaper: “Since the most heart-breaking time for myself and Mark after losing Oakley, we have decided we are going to do this race in memory of our fantastic loving boy.
“It’s going to be tough and a very emotional run but we will do it with such pride.
“I shall also be wearing Oakley’s race vest in which he won the Potts 'Arf junior race in 2017 – a very proud moment for us indeed.”
Cheadle Running Club chairman Charlie Cox said: “We are delighted to be able to dedicate our first ever Virtual Cheadle 4 to Oakley.
“We were keen to do something to support Jenny, Mark, Claudia and their wider family following the tragic loss of Oakley, but the Covid-19 situation has made it impossible to hold a conventional event.
“When the idea came up to hold the long-standing Cheadle 4 as a virtual race, we realised we had an opportunity to do something meaningful for Oakley.
“Our sponsors: The Raddle Inn; AJ Beaman (Construction) Ltd; MJS Transport; Midlands MTB; Hillside Fishing Pool; and Stoddards Fuels, were all keen to support the event, so everything was in place.
“It’s a great opportunity for our members and the wider community to be able to get out there and run (or walk) for Oakley.”
Charlie added: “We want to encourage as many people as possible to enter in aid of this great cause.
“We ask that people don’t run the normal Cheadle 4 course though, to ensure social distancing can be maintained".
It is because of the coronavirus pandemic this year’s Cheadle 4 will be staged as a ‘virtual race,’ but will remain part of the North Staffordshire Road Runners Association (NSRRA) 2020 Series.
There are different options for runners to partake in the event on Sunday, July 12.
Competitive runners can choose ‘Option 1’ allowing members to use NSRRA guidelines and complete the course in one attempt with times equating to points as normal.
‘Option Two’ allows runners to complete the four miles at their own will, timing their different phases before totalling up their overall time.
Race organisers Cheadle Running Club are extending an open invitation to members of the local community to take part, so as to make it an extra-special event in Oakley’s memory.
Money raised from the race will to go to the paediatric neurology department at Liverpool’s Alder Hey Hospital.
To find out more about the race go online to https://cheadlerunningclub.com.
Picture: Oakley on his way to victory in the Potters 'Arf junior race in 2017.