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Running for health

375. Caitlin Limmer

A personal trainer from Twickenham who has helped hundreds of people improve the quality of their lives through her running club ‘The Bearcat Running Club’.

Caitlin Limmer, 44, overcame serious illness following the birth of her second child. This inspired her to start running with the thought of showing the medics how far she had come and could go. Ten years later, Caitlin has run 15 marathons, trained over 400 people to run or improve their running, and has reinstated The Turks Head 10k run. Caitlin setup The Bearcat Running Club in 2012 to encourage people to achieve their potential through running. She helps them build confidence, gives constant practical and emotional support and encourages everyone; whether young or old, able bodied or disabled, to be involved in her club.

As well as the ongoing support Caitlin offers her runners, she is a fantastic fundraiser and is always inspiring others to either donate or to get involved by volunteering with the club. She raised more than £15,000 for MDS Patient Support Group, Princess Alice Hospice and Shooting Star Chase over the last three years. Overall she has raised over £25,000 over the last 25 years for numerous local charities.

This summer, she organised the Turk’s Head 10k Fun Run for the third year running in memory of local teacher, Mary McLarnon. An enormous 850 people have taken part in each of these runs every year, helping to raise at least £5,000 for local charities. She also inspired over 100 people to donate bone marrow at the same run. Her most recent run was the challenging and hilly Surrey Bacchus Marathon (dressed as a 9ft Fullers beer bottle) helping to raise a further £2,500 and awareness for MDS Patient Support Group based at Kings College Hospital, London.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Caitlin has shown tireless dedication to making sure everyone is given the chance to improve their physical and mental health through running. With the Bearcat Running Club she has inspired and supported over 400 people to achieve that. Caitlin has also used her own running to raise over £25,000 for charity – she truly deserves to be recognised as a Point of Light.”

 Local MP, Ruth Cadbury, said:

“I want to congratulate Caitlin on this fantastic achievement. The Points of Light awards recognises those who are making a change in their community. Donating their time and effort to make the lives of their neighbours a little bit better. That is exactly what Caitlin has done. Her story, her determination to overcome her own personal challenges and then generously give back, is an inspiration. And the fact she is doing something that helps people get fit is even better. Caitlin is one of a number of unsung champions in communities up and down this country – I am delighted to see her recognised in this way.”

Caitlin said:

“I cried for half an hour after hearing about this award. I have a love of people, and improving their mental and physical health. I do this through preaching/teaching running and in turn quietly raising money for charities that are very close to my heart. I passionately want to encourage all to understand the overwhelming benefits that running AND community can give you in your life. Friendships, care, support, motivation and encouragement within a running environment have a huge knock on effect on your life as a whole. It is my job to preach this.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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