By Lizzie May
A manager at an NHS hospitals trust has been announced as the winner of a running award.
Jo Gennari, general manager at Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust won the Spirit of The London Marathon 2020 for setting up and managing the organisation’s running club, #TeamLGT, in her spare time.
Ms Gennari set up the running club in 2016 and recently arranged for a team of more than 30 NHS workers to take part in last year’s Virtual London Marathon – an event which saw runners who would have competed in the race, cancelled because of Covid, complete the run on their own near their homes.
Ms Gennari said: “I’m absolutely gobsmacked to win. It doesn’t happen to people like me.
“It’s about doing activity, not being an athlete – I don’t look like an athlete, I am a woman in my late 40s, average build, a busy job and a teenage son.
“The award represents the whole team, not just me. I couldn’t have done it if people weren’t willing to be encouraged.”
Previous winners of the award include three-time winner of the London Marathon Paula Radcliffe, and former wheelchair athlete Tanni Grey-Thompson.
The team has raised more than £7,500 for the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust’s charity.
The trust, established in 2013, is responsible for hospital services at Lewisham Hospital and Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Greenwich.
The award organisers praised Jo for her extraordinary work at the trust and inspiring so many people to run.
Dr Elizabeth Aitken, medical director for the trust, and a keen runner, said: “Jo makes a huge contribution towards staff well-being while also supporting our trust charity.
“It has been a year like no other, and it’s been so important for staff to take time to unwind and look after their own physical and mental health.”
Lewisham and Greenwich NHS heroes also featured on the Queen’s Christmas Day broadcast, where the choir performed Joy To The World on BBC1.
The choir recently collaborated with pop singer Justin Bieber for a special charity version of his NHS charity song, Holy.
Pictured above: From left, Linda Machakaire, head of midwifery UHL, Jonathan Bird, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, Jo Gennari, general manager specialist medicine, Claire Humphreys, matron: Gynaecology and Bunmi Ogunlesi, service manager
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