15th December 2017

Man to run 50 half-marathons for hospice

An ambitious dad has challenged himself to run 50 half-marathons in a year to raise money for the hospice which cared for his wife.

Mark Henderson, aged 50, will run more than 650 miles in half-marathons before his birthday in November 2018 – and is hoping to raise £10,000 for three charities including St Richard’s Hospice.

In 2011, Mark’s wife – Alison, died at the Worcester hospice after living with cancer. The couple’s daughter, Emily, was just 13 at the time.

To celebrate his 50th birthday, Mark – who previously lived in Droitwich – decided to take on the challenge and ran his first half-marathon in November at the Stanwick Lakes Santa Run in Northamptonshire.

He said: “Turning 50 seems like a big birthday and I didn’t want to have a party and just forget it – I wanted to do something different.

“My dad dying at 48 years old is probably the biggest reason I’m doing this. I’m nervous about the challenge as I’ve really never done anything quite like it.

“I know I can run a half-marathon but getting the flu or an injury is probably my greatest anxiety – so I’m trying to avoid anyone with a cough.”

So far, he has signed-up for 41 half-marathons and is encouraging friends, family and members of the public to run alongside him at each event.

The runner is raising money for St Richard’s – which cared for his wife at its Day Hospice and In-patient Unit – Whizz Kidz and The Net Patient Foundation.

“I’m eternally grateful for the help and support our family received at St Richard’s, not only during the illness but also afterwards at the support events,” said Mark, who lives in Cofton Hackett near Bromsgrove.

“St Richard’s is such a warm and wonderful place. I recall it being so bright, welcoming and peaceful.

“The staff were also so lovely, thoughtful and would do anything for us. Alison was admitted four days before she died but she was never awake during this time.

“The service provided by the hospice is exceptional and it’s good to know it’s there when you need it most.”

To follow updates on Mark’s challenge, or to make a donation, visit his website www.50at50.co.uk