Express & Star

Hundreds of runners turn out as Run for Joel makes 'extra special' return

Hundreds of people donned their running gear as a popular event set up to honour three generations of a family who were killed in a terror attack made its return.

SANDWELL COPYRIGHT TIM STURGESS EXPRESS AND STAR......05/09/2021 Smile for Joel's popular charity run returned to Sandwell Valley Country Park , West Bromwich. Pictured , centre, Owen Evans joins in the fun..

Runners descended on Sandwell Valley Country Park to take part in the Run for Joel fundraising event.

The run raises money for the Smile for Joel charity, set up by Suzy Evans and her son Owen, from Wednesbury.

Suzy’s eldest son, Joel Richards, aged 19, brother Adrian, 49, and father Patrick, 78, were all killed in the Tunisia beach gun attack in 2015. Owen, who was 16 at the time, survived. Mother and son have since raised thousands of pounds for charity.

Around 400 people took part as participants ran either 3km or 5km, while some runners covered themselves in powder pain as the popular colour blast returned.

The event was extra special this year as it had to be held virtually in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Suzy said: "It was amazing. We were really worried about doing it with others being cancelled. But we were determined to do it.

"The colour blast went crazy, everybody loved it. It was great to see people rather than having to do it over Zoom. It made it extra special. I love to be able to see people opposed to doing it virtually."

Smile for Joel supports families who have lost loved ones in tragic circumstances, such as terror attacks.

And it was fun in the sun as runners were treated to good weather on the day.

"I always say Joel brings us the sunshine," Suzy said.

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