Couple’s New York marathon wait

Simon and Jaki Woods
Simon and Jaki Woods

A WIGAN couple are anxiously watching the news from New York as they prepare to run the Big Apple Marathon.

Simon and Jaki Woods are due to fly out to America later this week to compete in the world-famous run on Sunday.

But with all flights cancelled until further notice because of the impending threat from Hurricane Sandy, their plans are up in the air.

At the moment, the marathon is still due to go ahead, but forecasters are warning New York could bear the brunt of a one-of-a-kind superstorm.

Sandy is on a collision course with two other weather systems leading to fears it could develop into one of the worst storms on record in the US.

Authorities are warning New York could get hit with an 11ft wall of water that could swamp parts of lower Manhattan, flood subway tunnels and cripple the network of electrical and communication lines that are vital to the nation’s financial status.

Jaki is due to take part in the run as her own tribute to her dad Austin Bullen who has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for the past seven years.

In July his loving wife Jean and the family finally had to take the traumatic decision that his life would be happier in a specialist nursing home for sufferers.

Now Jaki and her husband Simon are hoping to complete the Manhattan course to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society.

Jaki, 42, and 41-year-old Simon, who live in Roby Mill and are members of Wigan Pheonix, have been training hard for the challenge. Both have run marathons before - and for good causes.

Jaki said: “It is so close to my heart because of my dad’s battle with Alzheimer’s which has been going on for a long time now.

“This year it was decided that it would be kinder if he moved into a specialist home for people with the condition and that helped to bring it home to me about the effect that the condition is now having on so many families across the country.

“As a child my dad was the person who was always encouraging me to run and would come and watch me when I used to run for the Wigan Harriers.

“A lot of people know about Alzheimer’s these days but it is so important to keep the awareness there for the public so that research into the condition continues to be priority. To see someone deteriorate is quite hard, quite difficult.

“Mum has been amazingly strong and we don’t know how she has coped with it all, but she has done.

“I have done my share of marathons but there is nothing to shout about in terms of finishing times!

“Simon though has done a lot better than myself and his record is quite respectable. When I turned 40 I decided I really wanted to do New York and now it is happening I just can’t wait”

All donations will go to the charity via JustGiving at,/jaki-newyork