Nicola takes to the Peak District in hopes Sheffield youngsters will follow in her footstepsÂ

A woman from Sheffield is set to embark on a gruelling nine hour run from dawn until dusk, all to raise money for children who are getting into the sport.

Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 7:47 am
Updated Tuesday, 11th December 2018, 7:50 am
Nicola Squires is raising money to get children into running.

Nicola Squires, aged 33, will set off from her home in Rivelin one hour before sunrise at 7:18am on December 21 '“ the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere '“ and will not return until 4:18pm, half an hour after the sun has set.

Having struggled with her mental health over the last 12 months, one cold and wet morning in February she decided against staying in the warmth, and headed out for a run.

Nicola Squires is raising money to get children into running.

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Nicola, who works in admin at sport development at a yoga studio, has been passionate about running since she was in school, having gone on to win the Sheffield Half Marathon numerous times and also compete nationally.

She said: 'I'd had a rubbish year. It was raining and horrible, and even though the idea of staying in the warm and dry was really appealing, I decided to head out for a run.

'Around two miles into the run I passed a cyclist and exchanged a friendly '˜hello', he went past and later came back. He said do you want to be in a film about running? I thought why not things can't get any worse.

Nicola has won the Sheffield Half Marathon numerous times

'The cyclist turned out to be local legendary cyclist and filmmaker Brendon Tyree. Little did I know how this chance encounter would help heal me.'

The pair set about creating a film based on running from sunrise to sunset called '˜Golden Days' which captures Nicola on run in the Peak District.

Nicola said this time, surrounded by the beautiful scenery was a '˜truly healing and a spiritual experience', one that she will never forget. 

Had it not been for her year five teacher, Mr Malkin at Hartley Brook Primary School, Nicola may have never become a runner.

'Without him making me do all the cross country running over 20 years ago, I wouldn't have got into it' she added. 'I will forever be grateful for that opportunity. When I was feeling down it saved me.'

Craig Malkin, still works within primary schools, as a sports lead to development opportunities for children across Sheffield. 

It was here Nicola was given the opportunity to support at an after school running club which Craig had set up.

She said: 'They started out not wanting to come to the club, unfortunately some of them would come because it was better than going home. Some of them didn't have any sports kits but they loved it. 

'But, over the weeks the numbers grew and by the end they would all run up to me in the park and they loved it. It was amazing to see.'

So, Nicola decided to raise as much money as she could to help the children within Craig's school partnership in the only way she knew fit. 

'I want to raise £500, and aim to give at least 10 children the opportunity to experience running that may change their life,' she added. 'If it could help one school, or even a couple schools that would be great.

'It will go towards things like kit, with a school logo branded running top, and fund them to go to an external coaching camp so they can learn about different environments.

'If there is money left over it will go towards entry into a fun run, for all children across Sheffield. If it gets one child into running that would be worth it.'

The overall cost per child would be £50, which would include a kit, coaching and fun run entry.

Nicola said: 'If we can help one child become an outstanding runner, or find a release from life through running then I will be happy.'

On the day she is hoping to cover around 50 miles, a distance she has never run in one day, and will cover land over the Peak District which featured in the film.