Inspirational Jack’s challenge

Jack Marshall and his sister Jaimie meet Haile Gebrselassie.
Jack Marshall and his sister Jaimie meet Haile Gebrselassie.

A brave teenager with a rare neurological condition has again defied the odds by completing a gruelling challenge.

Jack Marshall, aged 15, from Belton in the Isle of Axholme took part in Africa’s biggest road race, the epic Great Ethiopian Run.

Jack suffers from Moebius Syndrome which leaves him unable to walk unassisted and unable to smile. He is also blind in one eye and has reduced hearing and balance.

He completed the 10k run with help from his 19-year-old sister Jaimie.

There were 37,000 participants in this year’s event, including more than 400 elite athletes.

Jack’s mum Linda said: “They were invited to Ethiopia by Olympic legend Haile Gebrselassie after they competed in the junior Great North Run in September, and they actually went to his house after the run.

“The junior race was cancelled so Jaimie took him on the senior event pushing him in his wheelchair over 10k of unmade roads.

“Jack ran the last 200 metres. She said it was the most amazing experience of their lives.”

Linda said the race was not as formal as running events in the UK.

All 37,000 competitors started at the same time after a gun was fired and at each kilometre a band played while runners stopped, danced, chanted and sang.

“They let a fire hydrant off to cool everyone down,” Linda added.

It is not the first time Jack has taken part in a challenge.

He has previously completed the Junior Great Manchester Run and walked up Pen-y-ghent, one of the three Yorkshire Dales Peaks with Emmerdale actor, and good friend, Chris Chittell – who plays Eric Pollard in the TV soap.

His selfless fundraising led to him being selected to carry the Olympic torch during the 2012 relay.

And he has even more challenges lined up – Jack is planning to climb Mount Snowdon in April with Emmerdale cast members.

His ultimate aim is to climb Kilimanjaro.

He is also set to take part in a parachute jump in July, along with Doncaster soldier Ben Parkinson, the most severely injured soldier ever to survive.