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Westhill man launches running challenge 365 Days of Courage for Kathy in memory of sister

Matt Huntington is running 10km every day to raise money for Friends of ANCHOR
Matt Huntington is running 10km every day to raise money for Friends of ANCHOR

An Aberdeenshire runner is completing 10km every day this year to raise money in memory of his sister.

Matt Huntington is raising funds for Friends of Anchor, who supported his late sister Kathy Parfitt during her cancer treatment.

The 48-year-old had originally hoped to raise £3,650 by the end of the 365 Days of Courage for Kathy challenge, but has smashed that target twice.

Mr Huntington, from Westhill, said: “Kathy passed away in April 2018, just weeks before she was due to take part in the charity’s Courage on the Catwalk event. I’m running in her honour, so some days have been quite emotional.”

Mr Huntington is on course to run more than 4,500km (2,796 miles) which is equivalent to walking from Land’s End to John O’Groats three times. He has kept up his running despite harsh weather and even met his goal when restrictions meant he could not leave his London hotel room.

The project manager even managed to get some training in while working away in London as a technical official for the Olympics earlier this month.

Matt Huntington is raising money in memory of his sister Kathy Parfitt

He said: “I had to get creative to log my 10k each day, but the hotel room was 8m (26ft) long which gave me enough space to run back and forth and track the distance on Strava.”

Marking Kathy’s birthday

This week Mr Huntington will run a special half-marathon route to mark what would have been his sister’s 46th birthday. He will run her favourite ParkRun routes at Hazelhead Park and Aberdeen Beach, before passing the Anchor Unit and some of the large painted anchors around the city.

He said his sister will be at the “forefront” of his mind when he completes the half-marathon on Wednesday.

Next challenge

Matt Huntington and his daughter Amy will run the Loch Ness Marathon later this year

And Mr Huntington already has plans for an even longer run later this year when he takes on the Loch Ness Marathon on October 3 with his daughter, Amy.

He said: “Running in the days after the marathon later this year will be tough, but every day means every day, no excuses and no days off.

“Some days have been hard going, whether that’s due to fatigue, muscle niggles or bad weather, but a little bit of pain on a quick run pales into insignificance by comparison with the battle Kathy fought. My memories of her spur me on each and every time I go out for a run.”

Inspiring others

Erica Banks, communications lead for Friends of Anchor, said Mr Huntington is an inspiration to everyone at the charity and praised his “heartfelt commitment”.

She added: “Day in, day out, he gets the miles in, wearing his red T-shirt every step of the way. 10k a day is no small feat but so far, Matt has actually been averaging closer to over 12k which really is going the extra mile.

“His effort has paid off with an incredible number of generous donations, and every penny of every pound he raises will be directly invested to support patients.”

Mr Huntington added: “All of Kathy’s family and friends miss her dearly and we remember our times together with fondness. She would be so proud, grateful and have a huge smile on her face for everyone’s incredible generosity in her memory.”

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