A DEDICATED runner from Rhyl who has raised thousands for Giddo’s Gift received a different kind of birthday present this year.

Ann Claire Jones, 54, a friend and avid supporter of the charity which supports teenagers and young adults living with cancer, will be taking on the Beautifully Brutal Pen Llyn Ultra 50+ Mile Race thanks to a thoughtful gift from a friend.

The gruelling challenge starts at 10pm on Friday 5th July and finishes around midday on Saturday, taking in sights of the Welsh Coastal Path across undulating terrain.

Ann Claire, who has participated in dozens of running races since onboarding with the charity in 2018, explained that she only found out 6 weeks ago that she would be taking part in the 53.4 mile race.

Ann Claire said: “A friend of mine was 50 recently, so we did part of the Offa’s Dyke Path to celebrate, which was 50km starting in Welshpool. Because we had such a good time, she thought it was a good idea to sign us up for the 50+ miler to celebrate my birthday last week.

“Most people get cake or prosecco for their birthday – I get a race entry for the longest race I’ve ever ran! I’ve trained for 35 miles before, but never this far, so this will be a real challenge. But fundraising for Giddo’s Gift really keeps me motivated.

“I’ve known Mandy and the family for years, and our lives aren’t the same without Jord. If the family can get through the loss of a loved one who was so young, I can get through this race.”

Ann Claire didn’t get the running bug until she completed the Race for Life in 2016 with a group of friends – fast forward eight years, and the mum-of-two is taking on one of the most challenging routes in the country in the name of Giddo’s Gift.

The charity was set up in 2018 by Mandy Giddins, the mother of Jordan Giddins, who lost his life to a rare type of cancer in 2017, aged just 18. To keep his memory alive, Mandy and Beth, Jordan’s older sister, set up a charity which aims to improve the lives of other teenagers and young adults living with cancer by providing gifts, grants, and wishes.

Commenting on Ann Claire’s challenge, Mandy said: “We’ll be thinking of our friend as she takes on this incredible challenge. We think she’s an inspiration – albeit a bit mad! She has supported the charity from day one and raised thousands for Giddos Gift over the years.

“In February 2023 she was awarded the Blue Heart Award for her Outstanding Contribution and Giddo’s Gift wouldn’t be the same without her. We wish her the best of luck and can’t thank her enough for keeping Jord’s memory alive and raising awareness of our charity, as well as childhood cancer.

Ann Claire added: “I’ve got two blocks of Kendall mint and I’m just hoping I finish it in one piece, timing doesn’t matter to me. It’s a weekend challenge in memory of Jordan, which is especially poignant just a week after his Heavenly Birthday where the town and community ‘Went Blue’ for Jord, and I just hope I do Team Giddo proud.”

To support Ann Claire’s efforts and donate to Giddo’s Gift, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/f/50km-coastal-ultra-marathon-to-support-giddos-gift