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Banbridge woman Elaine McAnulty runs 20 marathons for cancer charity

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Elaine McAnulty is running 20 marathons in 20 days for Cancer Focus NI

Elaine McAnulty is running 20 marathons in 20 days for Cancer Focus NI

Elaine McAnulty is running 20 marathons in 20 days for Cancer Focus NI

A Co Down woman has taken on the challenge of running 20 marathons in 20 days to raise funds for Cancer Focus NI.

Elaine McAnulty, a beautician and keen runner from Banbridge, said she has embarked on the epic feat after she learned the charity is set to lose 80% of its income over the next six months due to the Covid-19 crisis.

"I'm partial to a marathon or two, so during lockdown and missing the miles, I came up with the bright idea of doing a few for Cancer Focus NI," she said.

"Being 2020, I thought why not try to do 20 marathons in 20 days."

Cancer Focus NI has furloughed most of its staff and cancelled all its fundraising events. It has launched an emergency appeal calling on the public to urgently make a donation to help it re-open its doors when the current crisis is over.

For now, the charity can only operate a much reduced counselling and family support service for local cancer patients and their families.

Elaine, who is a familiar sight jogging along the highways and by-ways around her home town, has a formidable list of achievements to her name in her nine-year running career and has notched up 212 official marathons to date.

Two years ago, she celebrated another amazing feat - completing 100 marathons in 100 weeks.

She is now well through her latest trial and aims to complete the 20 Cancer Focus NI marathons on June 7. However, the 20 marathons she is doing for Cancer Focus NI will not count towards her total as they are not officially organised marathons.

"In the warm weather we've been having, I've been lathering up with factor 50 sun-cream and try to get my runs done before 11am," she revealed.

"I don't consider myself to be a very good runner, I just try to finish the distance. And it's good fun, we're a bunch of crazy people meeting up all the time. Over the last four years, I've become a bit addicted."

Kathryn Holland, outdoor events manager, Cancer Focus NI, said: "We can't thank Elaine enough for taking on this unbelievable task. We are in complete awe of her and are so grateful to her for helping us in this way and to everyone who is supporting her."

Donations to Elaine's challenge can be made via Justgiving at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/elainemcanulty.

Belfast Telegraph