By Poppy Askham
A group of Durham students participated in the 100km Race to the Castle ultramarathon, raising more than £13,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK.
The team was co-ordinated by the Durham University Charities Kommittee (DUCK), the fundraising arm of Durham Student Union. Initially, 22 runners intended to participate but due to the current spurt of COVID-19 cases in Durham, only 14 could compete on the day.
The course stretches from Kirkharle Courtyard in Newcastle Upon Tyne to Bamburgh Castle. Most participants take two days to complete the race, but four DUCK participants attempted to run in a singular day.
First-year, Alisa Kazinets completed the ultramarathon as a part of the DUCK team, having never participated in a running race before. Speaking to Palatinate, she said, “back in September, if somebody told me I would have done a 100km ultramarathon in June I would have said ‘you’re crazy'”.
After five months of training five times a week, Kazinets was overjoyed to achieve her goal: “I couldn’t believe my eyes that I actually got to the finish line. I used to think why would anyone put themselves through so much pain and hardship? But it was an amazing incredible experience.”
“It’s so lovely knowing that there are people in this world who are just so kind and charitable and knowing that I could really make a difference”, Kazinets commented, reflecting on the £470 donated to her fundraising page.
Ben Buky, DUCK endurance officer, told Palatinate, “Race to the Castle was a new event for DUCK this year and I’m so pleased with how popular and successful it’s been”.
“The whole team has been absolutely fantastic, working tirelessly on both their fundraising and training throughout the year”, he added, expressing particular gratitude to fellow DUCK endurance team member, Amy Richards.
“Having lost my grandad to dementia I’m delighted we were able to raise over £13,000 for Alzheimer’s Research UK whilst simultaneously participating in such a brilliant event.”
Image: Jacob Hiom