Hillbilly Beauts’ epic endurance nets £11k

The Hillbilly Beauts at the start.
The Hillbilly Beauts at the start.

Four tough mothers from north Northumberland have raised £11,638 for a children’s charity after tackling an epic endurance race.

Sisters Jenny Vickers and Ruth Oldfield, along with Nicola Wood and Coco Oates, also known as the Hillbilly Beauts, took part in the gruelling Race the Sun challenge at the end of August.

The arduous event saw 54 teams of four head to the Lake District to cycle 50 miles, climb 950m-high Helvellyn and canoe Lake Thirlmere, starting at sunrise and finishing by sunset – racing the sun.

Setting off just after 6am, the quartet completed the race in 10 hours and 22 minutes, making them the second fastest all-female team and placing them 20th overall.

“Helvellyn was quite hard on the descent as it was wet and slippery, but, on the whole, the race was really good fun,” said Ruth.

“We were prepared for it to be tough so, yes, it was what we were expecting, but we really enjoyed ourselves.

“The general morale on the day and the support we received were really good – and special thanks must go to husbands Mark and Tom who were our support crew on the day.”

The four, who all live in the Alnwick area, have seven children between them and were inspired to support Action Medical Research, which funds medical research into conditions affecting babies and children, after a friend’s baby was born prematurely.

Prior to the event, Ruth said: “We all have small children so a charity that helps children was an important factor for us too.

“I have twins and when my daughter Isabella was born she was in special care for a week.

“I was so lucky as that’s such a short time, but it did make me realise that it must be incredibly tough for parents with very poorly children.”

In the run-up to the Race the Sun: Lake District event, Ruth, Jenny, Nicola and Coco organised Tughallfest, a mini music festival, at Tughall Grange, in May and put on a wine-tasting evening and auction.

Ruth’s husband Mark took on an arduous Sufferfest challenge and cycled on a turbo trainer for nearly 12 hours straight, while another friend, Mary Dixon, gave up alcohol for Lent to help them reach their impressive total.

With the help of its supporters, Action Medical Research has played a significant role in many medical breakthroughs since it began in 1952, from the development of the first UK polio vaccines to the use of ultrasound in pregnancy.

It is currently supporting research into meningitis, Down syndrome, epilepsy and premature birth, as well as some rare and distressing conditions that severely affect children.