Ultra runners go ‘the extra mile’ for Dentaid


  Posted by: Dental Design      25th March 2024

Two ultra fundraisers are preparing to go the extra mile (and many more besides!) in support of Dentaid The Dental Charity.  Rafina O’Brien and George Jennings have signed up for Ultra Challenge Series events to help people experiencing homelessness, poverty and abuse to access life-changing dental care.

Rafina, a dental hygienist from Yeovil in Somerset, will be running an incredible 300km over three events this summer. She starts with the Jurassic Coast Ultra Marathon in May followed by the Cotswold Challenge in June before embarking on the Peak District Challenge less than a month later.  Each is 100km of running over varying, tough terrain and must be completed in less than 24 hours.

“I’ve run marathons before but never done anything like this,” she said. “But I wanted to see what I could do.  I run anyway and I love the Jurassic Coast so I signed up for that one but the Cotswolds and Peak District Challenges seemed exciting too, so I’m doing all three!  There’s not much time between them so staying fit is also a challenge but I have an armed forces background and a training programme that includes lots of hills so I’m hoping I’ll be OK.”

Dentaid’s fundraising events programme helps the charity deliver outreach dental clinics for people who struggle to access care both in the UK and overseas. 

“Dentaid has been around for a long time and I’ve always been aware of its work,” said Rafina, whose career has spanned the NHS, Royal Navy and community dental services. “I’ve been looking for ways to get involved and am also volunteering for the BrightBites oral health programme and on the charity dental unit in the UK.   I’ve set myself a fundraising target of £500 for these events. The team at Colosseum Dental in Yeovil has been brilliant by dedicating themselves to organising fundraising events and offering unwavering support by cheering me on during races, even on their days off.  It’s wonderful to know my colleagues and patients are rooting for me. It is a long way, but I’ll have my support crew and am looking forward to getting going.” Rafina OBrien is fundraising for Dentaid (justgiving.com)

Joining Rafina on the Cotswold Challenge is final year hygiene and therapy student George Jennings.

“This is the first time I’ve done anything like this but I’m excited,” said George. “I got the idea from a video I saw on Tik Tok and thought I’d give it a go.

“I’m a keen walker but have never attempted a distance like this, but I’ll have lots of support to keep me going.

“I just think it’s great that we have a dental charity that supports people both in the UK and overseas and I’d love to volunteer with Dentaid in the future.  I am very grateful to everyone who has sponsored me.  Training is going well and I’m looking forward to June.”  George Jennings is fundraising for Dentaid (justgiving.com)

To find out more about Dentaid The Dental Charity’s Ultra Challenge Series and other fundraising events visit https://www.dentaid.org/fundraising-events/

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