A PE TEACHER completed a remarkable 100km run by Alton Sports Centre on Father’s Day – raising thousands of pounds for the Teenage Cancer Trust in the process.
This cause hits very close to home for Mark Heffernan, with two of his friends’ daughters recently being diagnosed with rare cancers.
As social distancing measures remain in place across England, he decided to attempt running 100km in total last Sunday, by running a century of 1km laps around Jubilee Fields in Alton with many people supporting him on the day.
Mark started his run at 5am, completing all 100 laps in just under 11 and a half hours.
He decided to choose Father’s Day to do this run because he could not imagine how he would cope if it was his own young daughter who was diagnosed.
Mark initially set a £500 donation target on his JustGiving page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mark-heffernan2 – with all proceeds going to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
The trust have built specialist facilities in 28 hospitals around the United Kingdom to provide another home for young people receiving cancer treatment – as well as educating youngsters about cancer and being there to support young cancer patients, regardless of where they are in the country.
The local resident has smashed his target, with the total amount raised currently over £7,000, more than 14 times his previous end goal.
Speaking to the Herald about his experience, Mark said: “Because of the support I received, it wasn’t the experience I expected it to be and it made the run a lot easier – and gave me a nudge.
“This still hasn’t sunk in yet and I refuse to be proud of myself at the moment because it’s not about me, it’s about helping the cancer trust.
“However, I have been amazed at the donations the whole way through this journey.
“At the start, I thought if I raised £500, it would be something.
“In 24 hours, we had raised £1,500 and when I started the run on Sunday, it was at £4,700 – the support has been overwhelming.
“I do have to admit starting that second lap, knowing I had 99km to go, was a challenge especially when it was belting it down with rain at the time.
“Despite this, I just took it one lap at a time.”
After previously taking part in multiple bike rides for Blood Cancer UK in 2013 and 2014, he has now completed another amazing achievement – which will make a difference to those battling cancer at this particularly difficult time.