A MARATHON woman took a bite out of the Big Apple for charity.
Physiotherapist Michelle Ball, from Whitburn, took part in the ING New York City Marathon earlier this month, raising more than £1,300 for St Clare’s Hospice, Jarrow, where she has worked for the past three years.
Michelle pounded the streets of New York, with the 26-mile route taking in the city’s five boroughs of Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan, before she crossed the finish line in Central Park.
More than two million spectators lined the course to give thousands of runners a much-needed boost.
Michelle said: “I’d tried to get a place in the New York Marathon for the last six years and was finally successful. It was great to be able to run on behalf of St Clare’s and raise funds to benefit the patients I work with.
“The atmosphere was just fantastic.”
Michelle, who works full-time with in-patients and day-care guests at the hospice, said: “I’ve taken part in a number of challenge events, including the Virgin Money Cyclone, Windermere Outdoor Swim and Keswick 22k Trail Run, and have done the Great North Run for the past nine years.
“However, nothing can compare to running through Central Park, and the crowds in New York were really amazing.
“They really gave you a massive boost by cheering and high-fiving you as you went past.”
Michelle added: “It took me five hours and 10 minutes to complete, though – 40 minutes longer than my last marathon – but it was far more emotional. I will treasure my medal for years to come.
“I can’t thank everyone enough for their support, sponsorship and kindness throughout this venture, with particular reference to Peter Purvis who donated my £220 entry fee for the New York Marathon.”
Senior hospice fund-raiser Vanessa Mustard said: “All of the staff, patients and volunteers are extremely proud of Michelle for taking part in the New York Marathon in aid of St Clare’s.
“It’s a fantastic achievement, and we have all enjoyed hearing about the experience.”
Anyone still wishing to make a donation should visit Michelle Ball’s Justgiving page at www.justgiving.com/Michelle-Ball4.