‘It’s what Balham FC is all about!’ – Youngsters take part in fundraising relay marathon

Balham Football Club held its annual sponsored marathon last month with more than 200 boys and girls in attendance.

Marathon participants got together on 22 May, on Tooting Common, where 48 runners from the U7s to the U15s took part. A total of £475  was raised on the day.

The run was split into 42 separate kilometres, each person ran a kilometre then passed the baton to the next as part of a relay, whilst being cheered on by other club members, friends and family and was completed in 2:56.

Club welfare officer Zoe Appleton, 48, said: “It was another successful sponsored marathon.

“It’s always great to see so many of our younger members out doing their bit for their club, not just running, but also cheering their team mates round – it’s what Balham FC is all about!”

The sponsored marathon and annual open trials saw well in excess of 200 boys and girls attend, all desperate to get into the Wandsworth Sports Club of the Year.

A crowdfunding page was created to make it easier for supporters to donate their sponsorship money to fund the cost of hiring training facilities, pitches, kit and the club bursary.

Zoe said: “Without any premises to call our own, raising funds through sponsorship is extremely difficult, so we rely heavily on these events to keep our beloved club afloat.”

She added: “Not only is this a huge expense but it means there is no central hub for the club, and no local presence for a local club.”

Due to these circumstances, Balham is currently sharing grounds with Colliers Wood United at their Wibbandune Stadium.

Members have also trained at schools across south London such as Chestnut Grove Academy and Penwortham Primary School.

Fundraising activities for the club are vital to prevent raising fees for players and to cover the cost of running the club as there is a shortfall.

Zoe said: “We don’t want to have to raise fees for our players, so all the money we can raise through such fundraising means we can keep fees at the same level as last season.”

She said the club had earmarked £500 to help contribute towards the cost of footballs, which is in excess of £1,000 at this stage of the season.

The club is run by volunteers and was formed in 2011 in order to provide player progression into open age football for hugely talented, high-achieving teams of Balham Blazers FC, founded by Greg Cruttwell in 2001.

Balham currently has 23 teams from U7s through to the first team, including two all girls teams at U12 and U13 and a senior women’s team.

The sponsored marathon is just one of the events that the club has held to help supplement the fees received.

Zoe said: “We have an annual quiz night and an annual presentation evening.

“We also ran a series of boys’ five-a-side tournaments.”

Balham FC will hold an annual presentation evening on 28 June to celebrate this season’s achievements, and the fastest timed runner in each age group from the marathon can expect a prize.

The club was an unprecedented three-time winner of the London FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year award and Wandsworth Sports Club of the Year award.

Funds to help Balham FC are still being raised, click here to send a donation.

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