Grandson is motivation for Pool-in-Wharfedale couple’s race efforts

Wharfedale Observer: Ryk Downes visiting his baby grandson Cory at the LGI after taking part in the Leeds Half Marathon Ryk Downes visiting his baby grandson Cory at the LGI after taking part in the Leeds Half Marathon

A couple who are raising money for a charity which helps people with a rare and incurable condition have completed their first challenge.

Ryk Downes and his wife Bev ran in the Leeds Half Marathon to raise money for The Lily Foundation, which helps people with mitochondrial disease.

The couple, who live in Pool-in-Wharfedale, decided to set themselves a series of tough physical challenges in support of the charity after their baby grandson Cory was diagnosed with the disease.

After completing the half marathon Ryk, a councillor for Otley and Yeadon, said: “We have so far raised over £1,400. We both had a great day taking more than 20 minutes off our best times. So we have completed the first leg of our challenge.”

Ryk, who had set himself the target of completing the race in under two hours, had a time of 1hr 58min 34sec.

“Now for a small matter of a 69-mile Ultra Marathon next month running from Carlisle to Newcastle,” he said.

Ryk and Bev will be attempting a mixture of half, full and ultra marathons, along with a mountain hike for the Lily Foundation.

They are aiming to raise at least £2,000 over the year and are urging people to support them at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/Downes2014 .

Launching their fundraising the couple said: “Our 14-month-old grandson Cory has been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, which sadly has no cure.

“The Lily Foundation has been set up to offer support to families affected by this horrible disease and also help fund research, so that one day a cure might be found.”

Mitochondrial disease is a group of disorders caused by failing mitochondria, the parts of body cells that generate energy. Symptoms include poor growth, loss of muscle, visual, hearing and neurological problems, learning disabilities and heart disease.

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