East Grinstead teenager who hates running prepares to run 15 miles to Crowborough for Brain Tumour Research after girlfriend’s mum’s diagnosis

An East Grinstead teenager who says he hates running is busy training for a 15-mile charity run.
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Alfie Saunders, 16, is taking part in Run 15 in February in aid of Brain Tumour Research.

Brain Tumour Research, who told this newspaper about Alfie’s fundraiser, said the Run 15 challenge marks the charity’s 15th anniversary year. Participants can either run 15 miles or 15km or run on 15 days of the month.

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Alfie said: “I hate running. It’s never interested me but it is good for my cardio and is for a good cause.”

Brain Tumour Research supporter Alfie Saunders from East GrinsteadBrain Tumour Research supporter Alfie Saunders from East Grinstead
Brain Tumour Research supporter Alfie Saunders from East Grinstead

Brain Tumour Research explained that Alfie, who studies sports at East Surrey College and wants to be a UFC fighter, was inspired by his girlfriend’s mum, Karen Turner, who was recently diagnosed with a secondary brain tumour. Brain Tumour Research said the 48-year-old, also from East Grinstead, has undergone two radiotherapy sessions and is going through chemotherapy after initially experiencing dizziness and fatigue in August 2023.

“Watching her go through everything has been very sad and upsetting,” said Alfie. “But she’s a strong woman, and lovely too. I’ve only been with my girlfriend, Freya, a year and she’s been so welcoming. She’s such a joy to be around and always has a smile on her face.”

Alfie’s planned route is from his East Grinstead home to his grandmother’s house in Crowborough. He said: “I said if my fundraising total reached £300 before the challenge started, I’d run 15 miles over two days and if it reached £500, I’d do it in one, which is what’s happened.”

Alfie Saunders from East Grinstead with his girlfriend Freya Turner and her mum KarenAlfie Saunders from East Grinstead with his girlfriend Freya Turner and her mum Karen
Alfie Saunders from East Grinstead with his girlfriend Freya Turner and her mum Karen
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Support Alfie’s fundraising at www.facebook.com/donate/729608089100775.

Alfie, who has been training in mixed martial arts, boxing and Brazilian and no-gi jiu-jitsu since he was four, is training by running at the gym and afterwards.

Charlie Allsebrook, community development manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: “With one in three of us knowing someone affected by a brain tumour, Karen’s story is, sadly, not unique.”

He added: “We wish Karen well with her ongoing treatment and Alfie the best of luck with his challenge. We’re very grateful for his support. Together we will find a cure.”