MARATHON EFFORT: Man to run his 110th marathon in 110 days for charity
A father-of-three will today (Fri) complete a gruelling fundraising challenge that saw him run a marathon every morning - for 110 consecutive days.
Charity fundraiser Gary McKee, 51, ran his first marathon in February and has now clocked up a staggering 2,884 miles when he completes his last one later today.
Gary, who has logged in at work at a power station most days after his run, has raised more than £90,000 for charity.
Supporters waited for Gary at his local rugby league club, Wath Brow Hornets, where a reception was put on for him and even the mayor was on hand to congratulate him.
Gary said: "When I started it was dark and miserable, now we've got sunshine, hugs and light - and beer.
“It's a great feeling that people are donating and the money is going to great causes.
"Physically I feel fine, I've got a couple of niggles and stuff, but I run on the treadmill for 20 minutes every morning and I get leg rubs and use the sauna twice a week.
“I’ve been eating like a horse but I’m two and a half stone lighter.
"I've still had to get on with life, I've still had to go to work, still pottering about doing things.”
Gary has pounded the pavement every day since February 1 in his hometown of Cleator Moor, Cumbria, where a local brewery has even named a “Marathon Man” beer after him.
His mammoth efforts have earned him praise from celebrities such as Zoe Ball, Eamonn Holmes and Mo Farah.
Gary has been joined by close pal Kevin Hetherington for half of his marathons and other friends have joined him on runs to offer their support.
He even had a surprise visit from ex-Castleford and Wigan Super League player Wayne Godwin who joined him for a run last week.
Gary said: “He kept saying he was going to come, he was shouting and raving before he came.
"When we set off it was all downhill so he was giving it the big licks about how easy it was, then when he came back uphill he struggled.
"We got him through and afterward he said he appreciated what I'd been doing and said he couldn't believe somebody could do that every single day."
Gary has also earned praise from motivational speaker Richard McCann, son of Wilma McCann, the Yorkshire Ripper's first victim.
Gary added: "He said I was the most motivational person he'd ever come across, when people speak about me like that it's very nice. If you can inspire people that's great.
"That's what it has all been about really. Not everybody can run 110 marathons, but do what you can.
"Get your exercise in during lockdown and do it with a smile and enjoy it, it makes such a huge difference.”
Gary, who insists he is "not a runner", started fundraising in memory of his late father Victor, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1997 and died in 2003.
Veteran fundraiser Gary has racked up more than £400,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support over the past 18 years after nurses cared for his dad.
He has cycled across Brazil, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, trekked through New Zealand and run from Land's End to John O'Groats.
His children Alfie, 16, Beau, 13 and Minnie, nine, have also joined him in his fundraising efforts for Macmillan Cancer Support and Hospice at Home West Cumbria.
Gary added: "I've been here before and I've done it, I knew what to expect.
"It's been great watching the kids support me through it.
"Minnie was out with me last week on her ninth birthday, she cycled 26.2 miles. She's done a full marathon at nine years old.”
He ran 100 marathons in 100 days in 2017 which raised £120,000 and culminated in him running the London Marathon for his final one.
This year he decided to mark Macmillan's 110th anniversary with his endurance endeavours.
Gary, who started his quest on what would have been his dad's birthday, said: "I was close to my dad, he was one of those guys nobody had a bad word for.
"He was a charity fundraiser himself and would raise money for people to go to Lourdes.
"His loss was a devastating time for us as a family.
"Macmillan nurses were amazing with him and became a big part of our family so I started fundraising after he passed away in his memory.
"Macmillan is 110 this year. Because of Covid, a lot of their fundraising events have been forced to be cancelled and their funding has taken a big hit.
"The money has been sent to the charities on a weekly basis as it comes in, so it's already gone to where it needs to go to help people.
"Especially Hospice at Home, being such a small charity, that money will be invaluable to them."
Visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/GaryMcKee1 to donate to Gary’s fundraising campaign.
Words: Ashley Pemberton, South West News Service
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