Fed member embarks on month-long running challenge to support MS Society


PUBLISHED 02 Apr 2024

IN News

A Cambridgeshire Police Federation member who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) 12 months ago is set to embark on a month-long running challenge later this year.

Sergeant Owen Jones is taking part in the May 50K in support of the MS Society.

The May 50K sees participants walk, run or roll 50km in May while raising money for life-changing MS research and improved support and access to treatments.

Owen’s fiancée, PC Zoe Pell, is aiming to complete 100K in May.

He said: “I am 40 in June and before January I had never ran a 10k in my life.

“I’ve managed several since the turn of the year. It’s something I’ve focused on with my disability and trying to prove to myself I can still do everything.

“Zoe and I have made a team and between us we’re going to do 150k during the month of May, while still working and doing everything we need to do in our lives.

“I am a father of a nine-year-old boy. My son doesn’t live with me, so I have him on all my rest days and still work full-time response.

“Fitting in the running on top of medication is going to be hard but the whole point is to prove that if I can do it with the support of someone incredible in Zoe, then anyone can.

“Above all else it shows my son that his dad is still the person he thinks I am regardless of my disease.”

Zoe said: “We are a team and have got through this together with the help and support from our friends and family.”

She added: “He has put his all into his training in both the gym and running and I couldn’t be more proud of him, as 18 months ago, he could barely lift his feet to run let alone smash out 10k runs at a time.

“He has shown pure grit and determination not to let this beat him and to show others that he can still do a very demanding job as well as being the best dad he can to his little boy.”

Owen’s life was turned upside down 18 months ago.

He described how he had ‘quite a bad episode’ during which Zoe had to help him to dress to get to work.

“I didn’t know what was wrong with me,” he said. “I could barely dress myself. I could barely walk. I certainly couldn’t run.

“I had immense pain in my side and my leg.

“I had pins and needles all over. If I bent over it felt like I was getting stabbed.”

Owen went through ‘a roller coaster’ trying to establish what was wrong before he was diagnosed with MS.

“It wasn’t great,” he said. “I’ve since had a diagnosis and I’ve started treatment.

“I’m now able to run, not that I enjoy it, but I’m trying to show that you can do it even if you have a disability.

“Zoe has been absolutely amazing through all of this. I would not be where I am without her.”

Zoe said: “It certainly hasn’t been easy and there have been a few sleepless nights and tears along the way.

“But anyone who knows Owen knows how stubborn he is and he will not let anything defeat him.”

The couple thanked Cambridgeshire Police Federation chair Liz Groom and colleagues for their support.

“Every appointment that I had, within 24 hours Liz had rung Zoe to find out how I got on, what was happening and how I was,” he said.

“She was so supportive and has been there for the whole thing.”

Zoe added: “We can’t thank the Federation enough, especially Liz for checking in at some real tough times. It really does go a long way to have the support from work.

“I also have to thank my former Sergeant MacDonald and Sergeant Moulton for being there at some of the toughest times.”

Now the couple are turning their attention to their challenge.

Owen said: “ I’m one of the lucky ones. I’m out and about running but some people can’t move.

“I get up in the morning in pain, I go to bed in pain, but I can’t just sit there and do nothing.

“I’m still capable of doing everything, I just have to understand I’m not what I was three years ago, but I am what I am now.”

Click here to sponsor Owen and Zoe in their month-long challenge.