Spearheaded by their manager, Gamston local Luke Maxted, West Bridgford Knights FC set themselves a target of running 750km in four weeks, with an aim of raising £750.
Four weeks on, and the squad has quite simply smashed the initial 750km target. With a full of day of running still remaining, we have just passed four figures, and currently sit on a total of 1,032km.
Most importantly however, they’ve also surpassed the £750 fundraising target by some margin. As it stands, they have raised £1,060.
Whilst donations are still trickling in and miles still being clocked, the club’s management have been exploring how the money raised would make the maximum impact in the community.
After initial guidance from Framework, the club are looking to work with local West Bridgford charity, The Friary, to ensure that the money goes where it’s needed most – with the squad on standby to help prepare care packages should their help be required.
Nottingham homelessness charity Framework said: ‘Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most homeless people are now off the streets and in temporary housing or night shelters, meaning these places are in need of supplies, such as food, clothing, and toiletries.’
The club will support The Friary in any way they can, to make sure the money goes as far as possible – but the money raised isn’t the only positive to come out of the fundraiser.
A spokesperson for The Friary said:
‘We have been blown away by the efforts of everyone associated with West Bridgford Knights to support those who are experiencing homelessness.
‘We know how important sport is for mental health and it must be so frustrating for the team not to be competing at the moment. It shows how much can be achieved by channelling that competitive nature into a worthy cause.’
The challenge has brought together an already close-knit group, with the players sharing their runs and encouraging each other in the team WhatsApp group.
Having a goal to focus on and the whole team behind one another has helped the lads make it out on those cold, miserable nights – with the physical and mental benefits of the exercise clear to see.
The club have seen a mix of seasoned runners honing their speed & distance alongside a number of novices lacing up their running shoes for the first time.
The Knights have unsurprisingly seen an upturn in fitness as a result, with personal bests aplenty, and some of the new runners going from couch to 15km in just a matter of weeks. One teammate, striker and midfielder Andy Kirkwood, has even used the challenge to help him recover from the effects of COVID-19.
But regardless of experience, many have reported feeling more motivated, more resilient, and simply in a better mindset in their day to day lives – something club sponsor Lesley Butlin Mindset Coaching knows all about.
‘Physical exercise, resilience and mental wellbeing all go hand in hand and it’s great to see the team’s challenge highlighting the positive benefits of exercise and having goals to focus on.’
When coronavirus restrictions allow the squad to return to doing what they love best – kicking a ball around in Nottingham’s EMPAL division 4 – they hope that their efforts this January will leave a lasting legacy. Both in terms of supporting the local homeless community through a difficult winter, but also in helping their players live healthier and happier lives.