Hartlepool runner who was in horror car crash completes St Patrick's Day hat-trick half marathon

A tireless fundraiser who suffered life-changing injuries in a devastating car crash celebrated St Patrick’s Day by running a half marathon between three churches named after the saint.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 5:32 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 9:15 am

Phil Holbrook, 60, of the Fens, in Hartlepool, who had to learn to run – and walk again – after suffering 30 broken bones in the accident at Christmas 2013, ran a half marathon in aid of the town’s hospice by running between three local St Patrick’s churches.

He and his supporters have raised thousands of pounds for the town’s Alice House Hospice since he formed the charity Team Sally in 2014 in honour his late wife who died in the car crash and was a big supporter of the hospice.

Among the many events Team Sally have held is a St Patrick’s Day shindig at Cafe One77, in the town’s York Road.

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Phil Holbrook celebrates completing the St Patrick's Day hat-trick half marathon.

Phil explained: “Obviously we couldn’t do it this year. I thought why not find out if there’s three St Patrick’s churches close by and if there is call it a St Patrick’s Day hat trick.

"It was a fluke really that it turned out to be Thornaby, Stockton and Hartlepool and the distance was exactly a half marathon which made it all the more special.”

He completed the challenge in around three and a half hours, ending at St Patrick’s Church, in Owton Manor Lane, where he was greeted by wife Gillian.

Retired council officer Phil said the first stretch of the run was the toughest with three miles all uphill.

Phil Holbrook finishes his St Patrick's Day half marathon at St Patrick's RC Church, in Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool.

But he added: “From then on the sun came out and it was a lovely day all the way through.”

He was joined for the last four miles from Cowpen Bewley by two of his running friends, Ken Stringer, from Billingham, and Paul Fryer, from Hartlepool.

The run was part of Phil’s 12 in 12 Challenges where he plans to complete a different monthly fundraising activity.

For every pound supporters donate via Phil's 12 in 12 Challenges Facebook page, they will receive a raffle ticket for a draw on March 31.

Phil added: “That’s the reason why we’re running and raising money all for the hospice who are in deep trouble as far as finances are concerned this year because of the coronavirus restrictions.”

People can also donate at the #TeamSally JustGiving page.

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