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 www.facebook.com/marks50at50. Donations can be made on his website at www.50at50.co.uk. 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.