London Marathon beckons for Hartpury staff and Irish Olympian Jonty Evans

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Dr Kathryn Nankervis, Associate Professor and Equine Therapy Centre Manager at Hartpury, will run alongside Irish Olympian Jonty Evans as he takes on the London Marathon following a traumatic brain injury. They’ll be joined by Jonty’s friend Michael Knight, and the trio are running for Headway - a UK-wide charity dedicated to supporting those with acquired brain injuries. Hartpury University and Hartpury College's Sports Academy Facilities Manager Alan Powderhill will also line up to raise funds for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.

Jonty Evans finished ninth in the individual eventing competition at the Rio 2016 Olympics and helped the Irish team achieve their first-ever FEI Eventing Nations’ Cup victory in the Boekelo Nations Cup.

Unfortunately, Jonty suffered a fall from his horse Cooley Rorkes Drift (also known as ‘Art’) at the Tattersalls International Horse Trials in 2018, a horse he’d kept in his yard following a high-profile crowdfunding initiative. He spent six weeks in a coma and then at a specialist neurological unit. His recovery continues and he is back riding Art.

Running has formed a large part of the recovery process, assisted by the Hartpury Sports Academy and training using the University and College’s state-of-the-art facilities including the Alter G treadmill. Osteopath Liz Launder has also helped with Jonty’s preparation within Hartpury’s Rider Performance Centre.

Dr Kathryn Nankervis set up the Equine Therapy Centre back in 1999 and oversees all the commercial, teaching and research activity within both the Equine Therapy Centre and the Margaret Giffen Centre for Rider Performance. Her recent research work has focused on water treadmill exercise in horses; particularly the effects on limb and back movement and she co-authored 'Guidelines for Water Treadmill Use' as part of the Equine Hydrotherapy Working Group.

Alan Powderhill, Facilities Manager at Hartpury’s Sports Academy, will run for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund. The organisation funds research into early diagnosis and treatments to beat pancreatic cancer. Alan is running for a friend who sadly lost his wife Jackie Orme to the disease aged just 46. Due to the covid pandemic, Alan has run two virtual London Marathons in 2020 and 2021 around his hometown of Cirencester.

Professor Andy Collop, Vice-Chancellor, Principal and CEO, said: “Everyone at Hartpury University and Hartpury College would like to wish Alan, Kathryn and Jonty all the very best for this weekend as they take on the monumental challenge that is the London Marathon.

“Headway is an outstanding charity that help so many people coming to terms with the lifechanging effects of an acquired brain injury. Likewise, the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund continues to fund important research into this aggressive form of cancer.

“Aside from the incredible spectacle, and opportunity to witness some of the world’s best long-distance athletes, the London Marathon is packed with inspirational individuals with heart-warming backstories. Jonty’s own story is remarkable, and we feel hugely privileged to have been part of his recovery and to now be supporting him as he takes on this daunting task. Good luck to them all!”

The 42nd London Marathon takes place this Sunday 2 October.

Those wishing to support Dr Kathryn Nankervis and Headway can donate via her Just Giving page here.

Those wishing to support Alan Powderhill and the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund can donate via his Just Giving page here.

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