A NOVICE north Belfast runner has set himself a marathon challenge – running 149 miles in ten months to raise vital funds for a cancer charity
Martin Brady from Ben Madigan Park only took up running to shed a few pounds. Now, two years later and four stone lighter, the 42-year-old is spending all his free time working on his ambitious feat: three marathons, five half marathons and a 10k run – and all before the end of October.
Having seen the far-reaching effects of cancer on friends and family, Martin decided he would use his personal challenge to raise money for the Friends of the Cancer Centre.
Remarkably, Martin had never run a marathon when he came up with the idea for the challenge.
He completed the Dublin marathon in August of last year to check he could complete the 26.2 miles before committing to his fundraiser.
Taking advice from the NI running forum on training for multiple marathons, Martin has been fastidious in his training regime. He spent the first four months of this year covering some 400 miles in preparation for the unique challenge.
So far, Martin has successfully completed the Belfast marathon, the Derry marathon and he is preparing to head off to Palma, Majorca, on October 20 for the final marathon in the challenge.
He squeezed the Lisburn 10K into his June schedule and also managed to run the Dervock and Cookstown half marathons in July and August.
Next on the agenda are the Groomsport, Waterside, Londonderry and Belfast half marathons.
Claire McAuley, events and community fundraising manager for Friends of the Cancer Centre, said Martin's "inspiring" efforts will make a difference: "This is the type of challenge you'd expect from a seasoned running professional so it seems even more impressive coming from someone who only ran his first marathon last Autumn.
"He's a very determined man and I'm sure that knowing every step he takes will help local cancer patients will help spur him on.
"As the official charity of the Cancer Centre, we provide the latest medical equipment and funds specialist medical posts and research. It also works to improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their families through diverse projects which range from complementary therapies to refurbishing the on-site 'patient hotel' for those who regularly have to travel long distances for their treatment.
"Our role is to provide the funding for people, projects and services which are outside and in addition to the provision already made by the Health Service, responding to needs highlighted by the Cancer Centre's expert medical staff."
To support Martin's efforts by making a donation to Friends of the Cancer Centre see www.justgiving.com/Martin-Brady1.