Worcestershire marathon man half way through 50 challenge

30th May 2018

A Worcestershire runner is celebrating after completing his 25th half marathon since last November.

Mark Henderson, aged 50, pledged to run 50 half marathons – or 650 miles – in 12 months, raising money for St Richard’s Hospice. His 25th race was the Worcester Full and Half Marathon on Sunday 20 May.

In 2011, Mr Henderson’s wife, Alison, died at the Worcester hospice. The couple’s daughter, Emily, was just 13 at the time.

To keep track of Mark’s running visit his Facebook page at  Donations can be made on his website at Mark is hoping to raise as much money as possible for the hospice.

Mark, who lives in Cofton Hackett near Bromsgrove, explained: “I am absolutely delighted – and a little amazed – that I have reached the half-way point in my running challenge.

“I feel so fortunate and grateful for the wonderful support I am continuing to receive from both family and friends. For every race I have managed to drag someone along with me to either cheer me on or run with!

“It’s proven to be much tougher than I ever imagined; the sheer challenge of running once every weekend and sometimes twice, is huge.

“There were fewer runs in the winter so it meant I needed to travel further afield; four of my planned runs were cancelled due to snow which meant running twice on three weekends to keep on track. I have got used to getting up at 6am on Sundays in order to travel to a race!

“I loved running the Worcester Half Marathon as St Richard’s is very close to my heart. At around 9 miles I was really struggling; as luck would have it one of the marshals thanked me for running for the hospice who had cared for her late husband. Those words were better than any energy gel and provided me with such a boost.”

Mark’s late wife Alison attended St Richard’s initially as an outpatient and then in her final days.

He recalls: “She really loved the place and the very special people who work there. She’d been very proud to know her memory lives on and we’re trying to raise money for the hospice.

“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.

“It is such a warm and wonderful place. I recall it being so bright, welcoming and peaceful. The staff were also so lovely and 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.”

Mark concluded: “I’m fully funding the travel and expenses myself so I have indulged myself with a run in Zurich. I’ve been to the oldest run in Germany and one in Barcelona and on the summer solstice I’m going to experience midnight sun in Iceland.

“Providing I avoid illness and stay on track my very last run will be 50 weeks from starting in Las Vegas where I will celebrate in style.”

Mark is raising money for St Richard’s, as well as Whizz Kidz and The Net Patient Foundation.

Coronavirus (COVID-19)

During this challenging time, we are doing our utmost to continue caring for the patients and loved ones who need us most.

The way we work has been adapted, with many of our services delivered remotely – such as over the phone, or by video call. And we are working closely with other health care professionals in Worcestershire to share knowledge and expertise at this time.

Latest changes at St Richard’s Hospice

  • In-patient Unit: It is with great sadness that due to stringent infection control measures, we are required to restrict visiting and cannot offer the comprehensive level of service in the way we usually do. However, we will still do our utmost to make sure that each patient and loved one is given the compassion and dignity they deserve. To help families stay in touch we are encouraging virtual visiting using technology such as video calls and apps. This will be discussed and explained to patients and families on admission and we can help provide access to equipment in the hospice. In addition, the IPU nursing team will liaise with each patient and family to arrange short daily visits from the patient's closest loved one and compassionate visiting, as appropriate. Read the full details here.
  • Community Nursing: Community services continue to operate, with a mixture of hands-on care and remote support.
  • Living Well and Family Support Services: Switched to virtual model, with care given remotely over the phone or via video call.
  • Shops: All 19 of our shops and warehouse are temporarily closed. Please do not leave donations outside our shops, as we are unable to collect them at this time.
  • Fundraising: All hospice organised events until the end of August have been postponed. If you wish to support us, please donate to our Resilience Fund.

Please do not visit St Richard’s Hospice if you have a high temperature or new, continuous cough. If you have these symptoms, please stay at home and self-isolate for seven days. See NHS advice on coronavirus.

Thank you for your support and understanding at this difficult time.