Caroline, Sam and Alyson’s 180 Mile Challenge

Every year we are blown away by the efforts and achievements of those who chose to support Henshaws through taking on a challenge event. Whether it’s cycling through the Yorkshire hills or throwing themselves out of a plane at 15,000 ft, our fundraisers truly go beyond expectations to raise money for our life changing services. Last year, to celebrate Henshaws 180th Anniversary, Caroline, Sam and Alyson took on the mammoth challenge of each running 180 miles in October, raising money as they went. We spoke to Caroline and Sam about why they chose to support Henshaws.

Caroline “My daughter Geena is in her second year at the Specialist College in Harrogate, so our initial knowledge of Henshaws came from there, when I found out Henshaws was celebrating their 180th birthday I figured it was the perfect opportunity to challenge me and anyone else I could convince!”

Sam “To be honest when Caroline suggested it, we were quite relaxed about it, thinking it’s only 6 miles a day, that doesn’t sound so hard! We were all really keen to raise the money for Henshaws not only because of Caroline’s personal connection but when you see the impact it has on all the people they support, you can tell the importance of the services they provide. It’s nice that it’s got a local feel, people feel more connected to the work Henshaws do and a couple of people that we spoke to even knew someone who worked at either the College or the Arts & Crafts Centre.”


Caroline “We try to do a challenge every couple of years, we’ve done a couple of marathons but this was quite different because it was up to us to motivate ourselves to get up every day and run. It was nice to be able to do it locally though, people would constantly see us out running and beep their horns in support, you couldn’t miss us in the pink t-shirts!”

Sam “Me and Caroline did the majority of the running together whereas Alyson had to fit it more around work so did more of it with others or with her friend’s dog Brandy; she is not a young dog and certainly got through a lot of miles as well! We kept people updated through our Just Giving page, posting regular pics and letting people know how we were doing, I think people are more willing to give when they saw us drenched after an 8 mile run in the pouring rain.”

Caroline “We thought that it would get harder as the miles piled up but to be honest, I think we found it easier later in the month as we became fitter. There were obviously low points but you just keep thinking about the money you are raising. From a personal point of view, seeing the difference coming to Henshaws College has made to Geena was motivation enough; it’s hugely improved her confidence and massively improved her health. Her willingness to try new things has also improved massively and she is much more engaged. Her disability (Rubinstein Taybi) means that she is often quite disengaged but coming to Henshaws is giving her the ability to get a lot more out of life because there has been a lot put into her. I want to support that”

Sam “I had a brief teary moment on one of the days running on my own. I was in a particularly hilly part of Pudsey in the pouring rain and briefly thought ‘why am I doing this?’; but that quickly went away when I thought about the students here who, for whatever reason, may not be able to run and I quickly realised that I could do it.”


Caroline “We were blown away by people’s generosity. Our initial target was £180 but the total just kept going up and up! In the end we raised £1,365. Considering we are quite regularly pestering people for sponsor money, we were amazed that the total got so high.”

Sam “Henshaws were brilliant throughout, they got in touch to see how we were doing and it was a really nice touch to each receive a certificate and a hand-written thank you letter once we had completed the challenge. We wouldn’t have any hesitation about supporting Henshaws again.”

We have plenty of challenge events taking place throughout the year. Head to our website to see our full list and discover how you could challenge yourself for Henshaws.

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