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Charity runners leave South Devon for Twickenham rugby stadium

By This is Devon  |  Posted: February 22, 2011

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STARS from the world of sport and entertainment are taking part in a charity run to London which leaves Paignton tomorrow with a £100,000 target in its sights.

The Rampant Rugby Ball Run – named after Leicester clothing company and event sponsors Lions Rampant – sets off from Paignton Zoo shortly after 1pm.

The destination is Twickenham – the home of English rugby – and runners should arrive in time for Saturday's game between England and France.

Runners will pound their way to Twickenham, passing a rugby ball between them, as they go to raise sponsorship cash for Loros, a hospice serving Leicestershire and Rutland, and the Urban Zen Foundation.

England rugby manager and World Cup-winning captain Martin Johnson is the patron of the hospice.

Urban Zen, in layman's terms, is a health and well-being charity with a particular interest in children.

Former England rugby player Graham Dawe, now head coach at Plymouth Albion, and Plymouth Argyle soccer boss Peter Reid have promised to be at the start of the run.

"I'm delighted to go the extra mile or two and give a hand to support this superb event," said Reid.

"Next, I'd like to see Graham Dawe dribble a football from Devon to Wembley!"

Said Dawe: Plymouth Albion are delighted to be involved helping to raise awareness for the Urban Zen foundation charity and Loros hospice.

"We hope the experience will be rewarding and that the exposure for both charities will be very beneficial in helping people who face extreme circumstances."

Runners will be waved off by England rugby mascot Peter Cross, the former Teignnmouth and Torquay player who is a familiar sight at Twickenham internationals waving his flag of St George dressed in a John Bull costume.

Lee Mears, the former England rugby player who went to school across the road from the zoo at Paignton Community and Sports College, will be joining the run when passes close to his home in Bath.

Said Mears: "I am really looking forward to being able to support this charity event.

I can see both charities receiving great exposure as well as everybody involved benefiting from what can only be described as an extremely tough mental and physical experience.

"Good luck to everyone and thanks to all the organisers for their hard work."

Ex-England rugby players Phil Vickery, Phil De Glanville and Danny Grewcock will be doing a leg on the run.

Celebrity conjurer Chris Korn – who recently started in BBC TV's the Magicians - has agreed to take part. He will be going into cafes and pubs etc on the way showing his magic to the general public

Former GB athlete Jack Buckner and model Jo Emma Larvin are also running. Triple amputee Mark Ormrod, who was injured in Afghanistan and adventurer Ed Stafford who walked the Amazon from source to sea have signed up for stints.

The driving force behind the run is Ian Coulton, a secondary school teacher who played on the local rugby and cricket circuits for more than 30 years.

Coulton is a friend of Kay Johnson –Martin's wife – and was inspired to organise the run after meeting Urban Zen's joint founder, the world famous fashion designer Sonja Nuttall, who is flying over from the United States to run the last leg.

"The Urban Zen Foundation is a wonderful charity and Sonja is very inspirational," said Coulton.

"Sonja spurred me to raise money and help make a difference.

"Kay and Charlotte Thompson, who is an ambassador for Loros, have worked tirelessly and it is amazing how this event has taken off.

"I'm also so grateful with the support we have got from sport, business and entertainment."

Among the other business backers are Bookers, and Bridge Motorcycles from Exeter, who are providing a motorcycle for security for the runners as they pound the streets.

Donations can be made by visiting www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/200mile. Almost £10,000 has been pledged in advance.

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