Schoolchildren line streets to cheer on final leg of staff member's King's Lynn to Paris run
Preschool children lined up with saucepans, spoons and flags as a surprise greeting for a member of staff who ran more than the equivalent distance of Lynn to Paris in order to raise vital funds.
Watlington Preschool senco practitioner Karen Smith ran at least 26.2 miles per week from May to the end of July, finishing with a full marathon last weekend.
In order to mark the end of her challenge - which has seen her raise around £650 for the school - Mrs Smith completed her final run on Friday morning.
Finishing at the Rectory Lane site, the runner was cheered by parents and pupils as she crossed the line.
Mrs Smith said: "I had no idea at all so it was very nice and kind of them.
"Running is what I do. I have done several marathons before. My husband said why not make it more interesting by running the equivalent of Lynn to Paris and I ended up covering 430 miles since the middle of May."
Having completed the run, she was presented with flowers and a cardboard cut-out drawing of the Eiffel Tower which was made by her daughter Charlotte.
The idea for the challenge was to raise funds for the preschool due to plenty of fundraising events being cancelled at this time of the year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mrs Smith completed her running challenge alongside the Watlington Virtual Marathon, which saw villagers and other participants run, walk, cycle or scoot 26.2 miles over a period of two-and-a-half months before the end of July.
Watlington Community Primary School and Watlington Preschool teamed up for this and decided to split the funds raised between the schools and the King's Lynn Foodbank.
Organiser Sarah Oakley of the PTA team said: "Our youngest entrant was just four-years-old. Many entrants have told us this has inspired them to continue to run or cycle.
"We raised £280 which was split three ways equally between the two schools and King's Lynn Foodbank. Additionally, as a personal sponsorship specifically for our preschool, Karen Smith, who works at the school completed her own challenge.
"She has raised an incredible amount in excess of £600 so far, with donations still coming in."
Mrs Smith, who turns 52 this week, said she started running 12-years-ago after being inspired by her husband who she used to regularly watch at races. The longest run she has completed is 100k, the equivalent of 62 miles.
Regarding the community spirit shown during the challenge, she said: "Everyone has been really supportive with that challenge. People in the village and surrounding villages have heard about it and enjoyed taking part, whether that is for themselves or to help with the fundraising.
"Within our little preschool community, families clearly appreciate what has been done, and being able to watch and follow it.
"The children could have been doing other stuff today [Friday] but they came to cheer me on which was very kind of them.
"It is really quite hard at the moment. We managed to open the preschool for a little bit. £650 should go a long way for a preschool."