We’d like to wish the ‘Wait For Me Willis’ team the best of luck this weekend as they prepare to tackle the formidable 58km Jurassic Coast Ultra Challenge, a gruelling endurance test that includes a daunting 1700m of climb!

The team consists of staff members from the Neuroscience and Intensive Care Units at John Radcliffe Hospital - Kumi, Cat, Natalie, Tash and Isla all from various backgrounds, ranging from seasoned long-distance runners to novices eager to take on this epic challenge. 

Their shared goal is to not only cross the finish line with, as they put it, ‘a bit of dignity’ but also to raise funds for Oxford Hospitals Charity, and specifically the Neuroscience Unit. 

Kumi Okamura, the team captain, has fundraised for Oxford Hospitals Charity before, running in both the London Marathon and Oxford Half Marathon. This time she has rallied up her fellow team members to take on a challenge together. 

As part of their preparation for the event, Kumi travelled to Tokyo and ran the Marathon there. Whilst teammate Cat took part in a 26.2 mile trail marathon called the ‘Exmoor Goat’.

Several other team members have undergone training in various locations, including the picturesque landscapes of Edinburgh, where they tackled the stunning Arthur’s Seat, whilst others navigated the scenic Dorset Hills.

Speaking about the challenge, novice runner Natalie Thrale said, “When Kumi dragged me into this 'fun challenge' I hadn't run more than 5km. My natural habitat is the squash court, swimming pool or vegetable patch, not miles of trails. However, I can't resist the opportunity to get a new rucksack, so I said yes... we will see how that turns out for me..!”

The Neuroscience Unit at John Radcliffe Hospital provides essential care for patients who face severe, life-altering neurological illnesses and injuries. Funds raised by the team will purchase additional equipment to enhance the comfort and well-being of patients during their stay, “…making patients' lives a little less challenging and a little more comfortable while they are with us”, says Kumi.

And, as for the unusual team name? Cat Lamb explains, “As myself and Natalie work within Neurovascular service we wanted something to incorporate that into the name. There is a well-known junction of several important arteries at the bottom part of the brain called the ‘circle of willis’. The ‘wait for me’ part is us all shouting… ‘wait for me’, hence Wait for me Willis became the team name!”

They will begin their journey at the beautiful location of Corfe Castle in Dorset on Saturday morning travelling through Corfe Castle, Swanage, Lulworth Cove, & Durdle Door, before continuing onward to the Weymouth finish line.

We wish them all the very best and look forward to hearing all about it!

If you would like to support their fundraising efforts visit
https://www.justgiving.com/page/waitformewillis