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Comedian Ryan Hand is streets ahead in marathon effort for cancer charity

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Comedian Ryan Hand

Comedian Ryan Hand

Comedian Ryan Hand

A Co Down comedian has taken to the street to raise thousands for Marie Curie.

Inspired by the 2.6 challenge, an initiative to help charities that are struggling to raise money during the pandemic, Ryan Hand decided to go one step further and complete 26.2 miles on the street outside his London home.

The TV presenter explained he was inspired by Captain Tom Moore's incredible fundraising efforts - the 99-year-old raised more than £28m for NHS charities by walking 100 laps of his garden before his 100th birthday.

In what Ryan (right) dubbed "the world's most mundane marathon" the Newcastle native had to run 300 lengths of his Islington street to hit his goal of 26.2 miles - without any training.

"This weekend would have been the London marathon, but I wasn't planning on taking part and as I only came up with the idea last week there wasn't time to train," he laughs. "I've always been a fairly decent runner and have done both the Belfast and London marathons in the past. Because you're running for so long it does get a bit mind-numbing at times, so what I was most worried about was boredom setting in, especially given that I was just going to be running up and down the same residential street."

Completing the challenge in just over four hours, and on what was one of the hottest days of the year, Ryan was blown away by the support he received.

"Everyone was out on their balconies cheering for me. Some random neighbours even came down and ran parts of it with me.

"I'd set up my DJing decks outside so there was music and a bit of an atmosphere and my girlfriend Charlotte was cheering me on throughout the entire thing, but it was tough going and there were definitely times that I struggled."

The 32-year-old, who has worked on TV shows such as Loose Women and Cannonball, has already raised over £3,000 for a cause that's very close to his heart and he's hoping other people will get involved with their own fundraising efforts for their chosen charities.

"Both my mum and auntie died of ovarian cancer, so I know firsthand the incredible work Marie Curie do," he said.

"They need to raise £2.5m a week and charities are struggling at the minute so every little bit helps.

"Prior to doing my marathon, the staff at Marie Curie sent me a video thanking me and wishing me good luck, it was lovely and really spurred me on, as did the memory of my mum Pauline and my aunt Eileen.

"The 2.6 challenge can be anything - eating 26 biscuits, walking up the stairs 26 times - anything. Everyone is bored and either making banana bread or shaving their heads, so instead of doing another TikTok video why not try to raise a bit of money?"

■ To get involved in the 2.6 challenge, visit www.twopointsixchallenge.co.uk or donate to Ryan's appeal at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/marathon-on-my-street

Belfast Telegraph