Nan Georgina Header (1)
Nan Georgina Header (1)

The Goggins Challenge isn’t everyone’s idea of the perfect weekend. 

A four mile run, every four hours, for 48 hours. That’s 48 miles – or just shy of two marathons back to back – in just two days. Offering a window of around three and a half hours with which to attempt sleep between runs, the challenge is a gruelling test of mettle that’s as much mental as it is physical. So, what kind of attributes do you need to take it on?

According to Gravesend-born Jake Coppin – who, in May, successfully completed the Goggins Challenge alongside pals Ben and Jon – the chief requirement isn’t speed, stamina, or a truckload of Lucozade. It’s a reason for doing it.

For Jake, it’s love. He took on the challenge in memory of his Nan Jean, who passed away recently after a brave battle with cancer. In lacing up his running shoes, Jake’s aim was to raise a total of £2,500 for ellenor, which supported Jean throughout the duration of her illness.

We are only local charity to provide hospice care to patients of all ages we support patients with life-limiting illnesses and their families. Despite having Northfleet-based inpatient and outpatient ward bases, the majority of our care takes place in the community. For Jean, this allowed her to be cared for where she was happiest – in the comfort of her own home.

“My Nan always spoke highly of ellenor. Their staff used to take her out for the day, and she always said how nice they were. They really supported her. As soon as I told her I was doing the challenge for them, she was really pleased. She couldn’t wait to get her ellenor T-shirt!”

The decision to support ellenor, Jake says, was “a no-brainer”. 

“If there was any charity that springs to mind straight away that I’d want to donate to, it’d be them. Not only because of my Nan, but because a lot of my friends and colleagues have connections to ellenor, as well.”

In addition to providing care and support to Jean, we also helped to debunk some of his misconceptions around hospice care.

“Every time I thought ‘hospice’, I thought negative things – that they’re a means to an end. But at ellenor, they don’t make it feel like that. It’s much more positive, and happy. They try to celebrate life.”

And, though Jake knew the name – and had seen our charity’s “orange vans flying around” Gravesend – it wasn’t until our hospice touched him personally that he fully realised its resolute commitment to a highly personalised, individual form of care.

“Not until my Nan was ill did I realise how involved ellenor gets, and how dedicated the staff are. Obviously with COVID-19 happening, it’s really highlighted how important they are; how much they bend over backwards to support ordinary people like me.”

At the time of writing, Jake and his friends’ efforts in the Goggins Challenge have generated an incredible £2,674 for ellenor. Throughout his journey, Jake was kept in the loop with regular messages from our Supporter Care team, telling him how his money was being used, and about the patients his fundraising efforts had helped support.

“It does motivate you because you know that it’s not just ‘digital money’. It’s actually physically saving people from certain illnesses, or their lives.”

The trio’s efforts have helped raise not only vital funds, but a greater awareness of the charity’s crucial role within the local community, too – something Jake feels strongly that we can do more of.

“The more money we can raise for these charities, the more lives we can help. But it’s also about raising awareness. Everyone should know who ellenor is, and everyone should try and do their best to support them. Because everyone is going to go through that at some stage. We’re all going to grow old and die.”

Running 48 miles in 48 hours is a memorable feat. But for Jake, the fondest recollections will be of sitting with his Nan and Granddad: watching the donations clock up, relaying to them the names of the latest givers, and sharing their excitement as the date of the challenge grew closer.

In fact, knowing that witnessing Jake’s completion of the challenge was among his Nan’s last experiences – and that she was always cared for with dignity, in the comfort of her own home – has helped him come to terms with the loss.

“I think if I hadn’t done the run, and raised the money for ellenor, I would be in a much worse place than I am now. For the rest of my life, I can sit comfortably knowing that my Nan’s last memories were of me – that they were positive.”