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Jon Norman raises over £20,000 for COVID-19 relief effort

6 April 2020

Norwich City Club Chaplain Jon Norman combined a treadmill and his garden to run 26.2 miles for the local COVID-19 relief effort last week.

Norman, who is also Senior Pastor at Soul Church in Norwich, aimed to raise £10,000 for Soul Foundation UK to help supply families with food courtesy of the Norwich foodbank and to purchase storage space for donated supplies.

With the overwhelming generosity and support from those who donated, the target was smashed. We caught up with Jon to find out more…

canaries.co.uk: What motivated you to run the marathon?

JN: Like Norwich City, we have a foundation and that’s being called upon right now in response to getting emergency food and everyday necessities out to people in most need – the elderly and vulnerable people.

That takes money, so I thought, ‘what can I do?’ I ran seven marathons in seven days last year so I haven’t really run since then, only a few light 5ks. I thought, ‘could I run a marathon at short notice on a treadmill?’

I put it in my back garden, and we’ve raised just under £22,000 so far, which is more than double what we aimed to receive (the aim was £10,000).

In my mind, if I’d have raised £1000, I’d have said that was great. You’ve got to set the targets high. People are just incredibly generous and sacrificial in their support, so huge thank-you to everyone who donated.

canaries.co.uk: It may not have been quite as draining as running seven marathons in seven days, but how difficult was it?

JN: Nothing can compare to that, but I think I pulled upon the experience from 7in7. It’s amazing how much memory your muscles have and your mind has. I didn’t give it too much thought beforehand because I knew if I did it could become a problem.

I just walked out in the garden and thought ‘I’ve got to do this’, and every mile I knew I was one mile closer to walking through my kitchen door again!

canaries.co.uk: So how did you feel the next day?

JN: It’s not good for your health to run marathons without training like I did, so please don’t try this at home, as the old cliché says! I felt okay, not just because I’d done seven marathons in seven days eleven months ago, but in the amount of training in the twelve months building up to that I had run countless marathons.

You have that memory, so I probably just wasn’t up to speed. It’s like when a footballer hasn’t played for five years, they’ve still got something that most people haven’t got.

canaries.co.uk: As for your role working with footballers at Norwich City, are you in contact with them over the phone nowadays?

JN: Yeah, I’m in contact with the lads as much as possible; staying in touch with Daniel Farke and Stuart Webber to make sure everyone is okay and keeping them in my prayers. I heard from Timm Klose yesterday and they’re all in good spirits.

They just can’t wait to get out there with a football again.

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canaries.co.uk: Back to the marathon you did – people can still donate to the cause can’t they?

JN: Yep, please visit our initial donation page (the rest of the money came via a church giving page). We get messages of thanks daily from people who wouldn’t be able to get out to get vital resources without the help.

There are families out there who are really struggling right now. Maybe their children would have got a cooked meal at school that they can’t anymore or a free school meal.

It gives us an opportunity to care for them. There are lots of great stories emerging and it’s great working in partnership with Norwich City Council and the Foodbank to come together because together, we’re stronger.


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