The grandson of the late rugby legend Cliff Morgan is set to embark on a 100 mile charity run from Old Deer Par to the Kassam Stadium to raise vital money and awareness for UK Spinal Cord Injury cure research charity, Walkoncemore.
Jack Morgan, together with best friend Steven Balleine, will be waved off by members of the London Welsh squad from the Club’s Old Deer Park training ground at 12pm on Saturday 14th February and hopes to arrive at the Kassam Stadium for half-time during the Club’s Aviva Premiership fixture with Sale Sharks (KO 2:30pm) the following day.
The two London Welsh supporters and members have been friends since attending school in Wales, the pair have set themselves the target of raising a minimum of £14,000 for the charity. Jack and Steven will be accompanied by a number of bucket collectors on their route, which will see them follow the Thames path the whole way via Henley, Wallingford and Abingdon, and finally the Kassam Stadium.
However, for the pair, next month’s Old Deer Park-Kassam Stadium run is merely the warm up for the Marathon Des Sables in April, when they’ll swap the rain and wind of the UK for the sweltering Sahara desert to complete the punishing six-day self-sufficient 254 km (156 mile) ultra-marathon. The equivalent of six regular marathons in five days, the duo will have to complete the course with all of their kit on their back.
Steven and Jack both have strong connections to London Welsh. Jack started playing rugby for the club when he was six-years-old, while his granddad, Cliff Morgan, served as honorary chairman and was a great supporter of London Welsh. Steven has been a London Welsh supporter since he was 12, when he met Jack.
“Whilst thinking of an effective way to raise money for the charity and with both of us being huge rugby fans and members of the premiership rugby club, London Welsh, we came up with the mad idea to do a sponsored run from Old Deer Park to the Kassam Stadium,” said Jack.
“We immediately contacted London Welsh and they responded with such enthusiasm and support that the idea became a reality. Like us, the Club believed the cause would resonate with many in the rugby community. The small but serious risk within the game we love I’m sure has passed through the minds of those involved in it at least once.
Steven added: “The training for the runs has been gruelling and with only a top distance of 50 miles under our belt, we hope that 100 miles doesn’t break us. Of course, it still doesn’t compare to how tough daily life is for millions of people around the world after falling victim to a Spinal Cord Injury.
“In an instant, a paralysing Spinal Cord Injury robs the victim and their loved ones of so much. As things stand, once a person suffers damage to their spinal cord, it’s permanent and the individual is left having to live with severe disability through paralysis.”
The research that Walkoncemore supports will hopefully make this a thing of the past. New and old injuries will become temporary, allowing the person affected to regain full mobility. With each unforgiving mile on both challenges, we are aiming to raise as much money and awareness as possible towards a cure for this debilitating condition.
“We truly appreciate the support from London Welsh, its supporters and everyone one else who have helped support this amazing charity.”
London Welsh Chief Executive Officer Mike Stevens said: “As soon as Steve and Jack approached the Club and told us about the charity and their fundraising idea we were delighted to assist in any way we could, particularly given Steve and Jack’s connections to London Welsh.
“I’m sure the rugby community at large will get behind the efforts of Steven and Jack to support the excellent work done by Walkoncemore. We would ask our loyal supporters, and all rugby lovers, to give as generously as you can to this very worthy cause and we wish Steven and Jack the very best of luck for the Marathon Des Sables. We will be following their efforts with keen interest.”
To donate – go to www.justgiving.com/Steven-Balleine-Jack-Morgan-Walkoncemore-2015
More Information – For more information about Walkoncemore visit www.walkoncemore.org
Twitter – You can follow Steven and Jack @ultra_running1