Breaking the pain barrier for twin charity challenge

Herald Series: Justin Lovstrom with wife Jackie and daughters Phoebe, 10, and Freya, 12. Picture: OX66979 Denis Kennedy Buy this photo Justin Lovstrom with wife Jackie and daughters Phoebe, 10, and Freya, 12. Picture: OX66979 Denis Kennedy

POSTMEN usually walk for miles every day, but Justin Lovstrom took it to a new level when he ran 100 miles in just over 26 hours.

The Abingdon postie took part in the Thames Path 100, an ultra marathon from London to Oxford, completing the course on Sunday afternoon at Queen’s College Recreation Ground, off Abingdon Road.

So far, his efforts have raised more than £3,000, which will be split between the Amber Phillpott Trust and the Oxford Heart Centre.

The Amber Phillpott Trust for leukaemia research was set up by the parents of an 18-month-old Abingdon girl who died from the disease in 2011.

Mr Lovstrom, 45, said: “When Amber died, it rocked the whole of Abingdon.

“Her mother, Fleur Tinson, is a teacher at my 10-year-old daughter Phoebe’s school, Caldecott Primary School.

“I also wanted to raise money for the Oxford Heart Centre, because one of my customers had lots of heart problems, and she died before she could get a heart transplant.

“She left two young kids behind, and the oldest, who’s 16, has become a ‘mother’ now, when she should be out having fun.”

He added: “The run was the hardest, hardest thing I have ever done, and there were some really dark times.

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“But no matter what, I had to keep going for those families because their pain is just so much worse.”

For the final nine miles, from Abingdon to Oxford, Mr Lovstrom was joined by Amber’s dad James Phillpott.

Mr Lovstrom said: “At the Abingdon Bridge there were so many friends and family cheering me on with banners and stuff. I was crying my eyes out, and for James to join me was very humbling.”

Mr Phillpott said: “When I saw Justin coming over the horizon, knowing he’d been going all through the night, it was remarkable.

“This is a huge, lifetime achievement and the amount of money and awareness he’s raised for us is amazing.”

The Amber Phillpott Trust became a registered charity in January 2012, and since then has raised more than £100,000.

Mr Phillpott said: “What’s an even bigger achievement is what we have managed to do with the money.

“It’s so satisfying to know that we’re spending the money on getting results.”

The trust is funding Oxford University research into how leukaemia cells release chemicals and affect the immune system, and a pilot project by Birmingham University into how to measure this.

AMBER PHILPOTT

  • Amber was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), a malignant disease of the bone marrow, in 2010 and died aged 18 months the following year.
  • The trust was set up by her father James to raise money for research into the condition.
  • The family lives in Abingdon.

To donate, visit uk.virginmoney giving.com/JustinLovstrom

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