Football Team Come Together For Williams Syndrome

Great Comeback 1

Entries for the Simplyhealth Great South Run are now open. Enter at: http://www.greatrun.org/great-south-run

Fifteen runners from Portsmouth have entered the Simplyhealth Great South Run in support of their old teammate. 

Ben Hale's son, Leo (4) was born with Williams Syndrome, a rare condition that can cause heart and kidney problems, as well as learning difficulties. 

He appealed to old football team, Apsley FC, to help him fundraise for the William Syndrome Foundation. 

Ben said: “Raising awareness for such a rare condition is key; Leo's condition is good though and he is a happy little boy.”

One of his teammates, Alex Nienaltowski (37), said: “When Ben asked if we would all consider running the Simplyhealth Great South Run for the Williams Syndrome Foundation this year, it was an easy answer.

“There are around fifteen of us running, of varying levels of ability; some have run the race before in times of 1:10, some around 1:45, some never at all.”

The Simplyhealth Great South Run takes place on Sunday 22 October, with thousands of runners taking on the ten-mile course in Portsmouth. 

The weekend also includes the Simplyhealth Great South 5k and the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Run.

Alex and his team's fundraising won't stop at the finish line, as they plan to continue raising money for Williams Syndrome.

Alex said: “The Apsley House, a local pub in Southsea, is hosting events for us after the Great South Run.

“We have DJ sets on after the race, and one of the UK's premier Madness support acts – It Must Be Madness, which two of us play in –  all with the intention of promoting Williams and getting people through the door to raise money.”

Ben said: “I'm really over the moon with the support I've received from friends running with me and some of the raffle prizes which have been donated.”

Alex added: “Some of us are setting race targets and agreeing to donate money for every minute they finish better than that in the Great South Run. 

“All round, it's a great team effort and a real sense of community, from places of work donating money, to individuals doing what they can to support a friend.”

The run itself is an opportunity for the old teammates of Apsley FC to get together for a cause close to their hearts. 

Alex said: “When we played football together we were always well-motivated; we won the local Portsmouth Division 6 then stayed together all the way to the Premier Division and won that.  

“I don't think many would disagree that as a team we didn't have the most talented individuals in comparison to other teams but we always had a great team ethic, bond and would always go the extra mile for each other.  

“That attitude is simply translating itself to the race this year and everything else we are doing to support Ben and his son Leo.”

Support the fundraising for Leo here.

Entries for the Simplyhealth Great South Run are now open. Enter at: http://www.greatrun.org/great-south-run