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John Port Principal Karen Squire runs 150 miles in 5 days for charity

Running around 30 miles a day, Mrs Squire ran from the Trust’s flagship school George Spencer Academy to the Festival of Education at Wellington College to raise money for the Spencer Superstars Charitable Foundation.

Karen Squire, Principal at John Port Spencer Academy, recently completed a five-day, 150-mile run from George Spencer Academy to Wellington College on behalf of Spencer Superstars.

Mrs Squire has been an avid runner since her teens, when she started running to “escape [her] colourful revision timetable and get time to [herself].” She has focused primarily on off-road distance running, completing her first ultra-marathon in 2019 and “The Wall” in 2022, a 70-mile run from Carlisle Castle to the Millennium Bridge in Newcastle.

“This was by far my most difficult challenge to date as I was unsupported so there were no encouraging words from a fellow runner when things got tough!” she said. “Fortunately, I am happy to talk to myself so shared some encouragement when needed.”

Mrs Squire departed the morning of Sunday, 2 July and arrived to much cheering and applause at the annual Festival of Education at Wellington College on the following Thursday. Her journey took her through Leicester, Rugby, along the Thames, past Oxford and through Reading until she finally arrived around noon on 6 July. Family and colleagues received live updates via an online tracker and the occasional message, with impossible-to-find paths through overgrown fields being a recurring theme.

“Got my Kevlar leggings on today,” she wrote on Tuesday morning.

While Mrs Squire braved nettles, pouring rain and road closures, donations poured in from around the country in support of her chosen charity, the Spencer Superstars Charitable Foundation. Spencer Superstars supports children to live their passions and follow their dreams by providing funding to children and young people to enable them to participate in their chosen field of excellence. Recipients include budding gymnasts, a musical virtuoso and young tech genius.

“As finances are now tight for many families, raising money for the Spencer Superstars has become more vital as it is so important to ensure our students can be supported,” Mrs Squire explained. “It is also much more difficult to get sponsored now so you have to think of an original and more challenging adventure!”

By the time Mrs Squire arrived at Wellington College, she had raised £1,110—well over her stated goal of £1,000. These funds will cover lessons, equipment, travel fees and other costs associated with the Trust’s superstars’ endeavours.

She described the conclusion of her odyssey: “As I approached Wellington, I could see cars turning in at the top of the hill so I had to dig deep to prepare for the hill, but as I went to cross a road I realised I was already at the entrance! I turned and ran in and the exhaustion and relief that I had finished was incredible as I broke down explaining to the man on the gate that I didn’t have my ticket! As I ran down the drive (he eventually let me in) I could see my colleagues from SAT and I have never been as pleased to see them!

“It was a real challenge, but the words of support I received from staff, parents and students from John Port and across the Trust on a daily basis kept me going. I was delighted to reach the fundraising target—so now for the next challenge. . .”