Peak Retreats’ South Run For Late Colleague

Great Comeback 2

For more information about the Simplyhealth Great South Run and to enter, visit: Greatrun.org/South

A group of employees from a ski tour operator are set to take on the Simplyhealth Great South Run in memory of their colleague who died of a brain tumour.

14 members of Peak Retreats and sister company Ski Collection, tour operators specialising in ski holidays to the French Alps, have signed up to the 10 mile challenge in memory of their colleague Valerie Fouger, who passed away in 2013 at the age of just 31.

Valerie was a much-loved member of the Peak Retreats team, whose headquarters is based in Portsmouth. In 2011, she went on a skiing holiday with friends to France and suddenly collapsed one morning and was taken to hospital there.

She remained in a coma for three hours before coming round and following tests, was given the devastating news that she had a brain tumour.

She went through several operations and rounds of chemotherapy and radiotherapy before relapsing. Following a two year battle, she passed away peacefully on her 31st Birthday in November 2013.

After the loss of their colleague and close friend, the team decided to sign up to take on a challenge together for Brain Tumour Research in Valerie's memory.

They have all signed up to the Simplyhealth Great South Run which takes place in Portsmouth on Sunday 21 October and plan to run in ski goggles.

Alison Willis, Claire Archbold, Charlotte Guest, Sarah England, Marie-Anne Haskell, Lyndsey Hawkins, Tim Reed, Pierre Marie-Laure Zobou, Marie-Sophie Baissett, Molly Jackson and Steve Joyce are part of Peak Retreats' reservations, marketing and product departments.

They will also join Emilie Brard and company founder Nathalie Soma, who are both based in France and are travelling to the city especially for the event, and managing director Chris Woodbridge-Cox.

Nathalie, 49, said: “In March 2011 she went on a ski holiday with her friends and passed out one morning. She ended up staying in hospital for two months having various scans and tests until her diagnosis was given.

“She managed to join us for Peak Retreats' 10th Anniversary in 2012 and then passed away on her 31st Birthday a year later.

“We lost a proud and efficient colleague, but we also lost a very good friend. She was so young and it makes you realise that you should never take anything for granted.

“Valerie is our inspiration for taking on the Simplyhealth Great South Run and Brain Tumour Research has become a cause that is very close to the company's heart.

“Her photo has been on my fridge door for the past five years and inspires me every morning.” Charlotte Guest, who works in Peak Retreats' reservations team, added:

"Valerie was like a ray of sunshine, She was so loving, Happy, funny, positive and extremely hard working.

“We spent a lot of time together she always made me smile and it was such a pleasure to have her in my life I miss her dearly."

The group will join 20,000 runners who aim to be their greatest at the Simplyhealth Great South Run.

Participants celebrate everything that's great about the city across a fast and flat 10 mile route that takes them through the likes of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard before crossing the finish line on the sea front, overlooking the Solent.

The weekend also includes the Simplyhealth Great South 5k and the Simplyhealth Junior and Mini Great South Run, taking place the day before on Saturday 20 October.

Many of the group from Peak Retreats are taking part in the 10 mile event and fundraising as a personal challenge for the first time. Alison, who is from Gosport, ran the event last year and is looking forward to taking on the 10 miles as part of a team.

She added: “I have taken part in the Simplyhealth Great South Run before and loved it. I am so excited to return this year as running in a team of colleagues sounded like great fun.

“It is a fantastic way to team build. It brings a massive sense of achievement which will be great for us to all experience together. Running in memory of someone so special is inspiring and we hope to be able to raise awareness about this awful disease.”

To support the team's fundraising for Valerie, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/peakretreats

For more information about the Simplyhealth Great South Run and to enter, visit: Greatrun.org/South