Challenging Disability Through Outdoor Adventure

Fundraising News

‘Marathon running turned my life around’

Braunton-based Kirsten Brend explained candidly that she started running to “lose weight and beat depression,” and after running the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon for Calvert Trust Exmoor she insists “running has turned my life around.”

Kirsten pictured at Saunton Sands after her mammoth fundraising effort.


Kirsten smashed her £2,000 fundraising target, raising a total of £2,563 to help provide outdoor activity breaks for people with disabilities at the North Devon centre.

“In two years, I’ve maintained a much healthier and happier lifestyle, losing weight and making lots of friends. Running really has changed my life,” she said.

“I have a disabled sister who lives abroad and she has been given similar opportunities to those offered by Calvert Trust Exmoor, so it’s nice to give back.”

As well as encouraging friends and family to sponsor her, Kirsten organised supporter events at Saunton Sands Hotel, ably assisted by her husband.

With ballot places for the 2018 London Marathon having just been announced, Calvert Trust Exmoor is now assembling its team to take on the “greatest of all races”. More than 386,000 runners applied for the 40,000 places available, leaving hundreds of thousands of people disappointed.

Six runners represented Calvert Trust Exmoor at last April’s race, and the charity again has a limited number of places available for 2018. In 2017, #TeamCalvert runners raised £9,242 for the Exmoor centre.

Andrew Kimberley, a science teacher at West Buckland School, also exceeded his target and raised £2,258. “I was quite apprehensive about the figure at first,” he said, “but all the pupils at school helped me. We had a donation bucket by the tuck shop for three months, and that seemed to work well.”

Andrew Kimberley enjoys the moment as he crosses London Bridge.


Colleagues at Eaton Aerospace, Neil Bullion of Barnstaple and Lynton’s Sam Morgan-Russell, raised a combined £2,728, with Neil calling it “definitely a fantastic experience.”

“I did struggle getting round after a calf injury in training,” he added, “but I didn't want to let down my sponsors or Calvert Trust Exmoor. I was a little disappointed with my time, but looking back now I am very happy with what I achieved. Supporting Calvert was a natural choice; I grew up around adults with learning difficulties as both my parents had jobs in community care.”


Neil and Sam look a little anxious at the start.


Oxford-based Ruth Sylvester, who is head teacher at the Redway School in Milton Keynes, held raffles and collections to help push her total past £1,200.

“Redway caters for children aged 2 to 19 with a wide range of learning difficulties, and we have visited Calvert Trust Exmoor many times,” Ruth explained. “This was my way of saying ‘thank you’ for all the good experiences provided for our pupils.”

The final runner was Lee Eves, from Braunton, whose fundraising efforts pushed the Calvert Trust Exmoor 2017 marathon team total up to an amazing £9,242.

London is one of the top six world marathons that form the World Marathon Majors competition with a million dollar prize purse. The race was founded in 1981 and is set over a largely flat course around the River Thames, beginning at three separate points around Blackheath and finishing in The Mall alongside St James’s Park.

"The Virgin Money London Marathon is the most popular marathon on the planet with a world record number of people applying in the ballot for 2018,” event director Hugh Brasher said. “Unfortunately, this means a huge number of people will be disappointed after the ballot, so I'd remind everyone that there is still a chance to gain a place in the 2018 race by fundraising for a charity."

To enquire about running the 2018 London Marathon for Calvert Trust Exmoor, call Jeremy Duxbury on 01598 763221.

Please contact
our Fundraising Team:


Jeremy Duxbury

Tel: 01598 763221


Catherine Little

Tel: 01434 250232

Lake District

Lynn Healey

Tel: 01768 772255



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