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Running man Philip takes on 24-hour charity race in tribute to courage of his late wife

By Amanda Ferguson

Published 11/11/2016

Co Tyrone man Philip Anderson in a family photo with Mary and their son Peter
Co Tyrone man Philip Anderson in a family photo with Mary and their son Peter

A Co Tyrone man is taking on a 24-hour running challenge in memory of his late wife and to support families in need at Christmas.

Philip Anderson (45), from Brackaville, near Coalisland, will run the 1.3 mile scenic trail surrounding the lake in Loughmacrory from noon on November 19, stopping only for short comfort breaks.

His wife, Mary, who was a civil servant, died from a brain tumour on November 13, 2014, aged just 40.

Philip set up The Mary Anderson Foundation to raise money for good causes and in order to help keep her memory alive for the couple's son Peter, who is now 12.

Philip said: "With the event taking place the weekend after the second anniversary of Mary's untimely passing, and just before the start of the festive season, it is fitting that all proceeds and gift donations raised during the event will be given, through the Mary Anderson Foundation, to local family Christmas appeals, something that Mary passionately supported throughout her life.

"When I first met Mary in 1997, come Christmas time she would always go around toy shops buying toys and then put them in bin liners and leave them at different charity doors anonymously."

At the event, entitled Reason to Run 24hr, Philip will be cheered on by Peter and their family, friends and supporters.

He said that if anyone is willing to run laps with him, they will be more than welcome.

"We would like people to bring a gift for children, teenagers or adults," Philip added.

"Wrap it up in Christmas paper and mark it female, male, age, sizes or whatever."

Philip previously attempted a 24-hour run in Belfast in June but had to retire from the event because he tore his groin muscle.

And the 24 hours challenge is just the latest in a long list of challenges he has taken on over the last two years.

Last year he ran 57 marathons to raise funds for the foundation.

"It's all good for the head, it gives me something to focus on," he added.

"If I can do something good out of it, all the better.

"Mary faced challenges without any complaints and with such a positive attitude.

"She was a giving person and that is what we are trying to mirror and to keep Mary's memory alive for Peter."

The grieving widower says the love he has for his late wife keeps him going when he is running.

He hopes the donations of money or gifts raised through the 24-hour run will make Christmas a little easier for families in need.

"I think about her when I am running," Philip added.

"The body achieves what the mind believes. When I am struggling Mary is the focus of my thoughts and I get strength and encouragement from thinking of the way Mary lived her life."

  • For more information, search Mary Anderson Foundation on Facebook

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