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Fundraiser reaches halfway point of year-long marathon challenge

Gary McKee is running a marathon every day this year (Carlos Reina/PA)
Gary McKee is running a marathon every day this year (Carlos Reina/PA)

A fundraiser who is halfway through his challenge to run a marathon every day this year said the first six months have “flown past”.

Gary McKee, 52, will run his 183rd marathon of the year on Saturday, passing the halfway point of his bid to run 26.2 miles every day of 2022.

He hopes to raise £1 million for Macmillan Cancer Support and Hospice at Home West Cumbria.

He said: “I always said this was 365 opportunities to help people and now it’s dwindled down to just over 180.

“It’s absolutely flown past.

“It isn’t easy but it’s nothing compared to facing cancer.”

The father-of-three has become a regular sight on the cycle paths around his home in Cleator Moor, Cumbria, and usually receives high-fives from children on their way to school as he sets off every morning.

So far more than 100 people have joined him to run or cycle part of the route and, come rain or shine, he is always met by supporters offering a cup of tea and cake along the way.

He said: “During early January we had some days when it was blowing a gale, with sleet that was going in your face.

“The temperature would get really low. I’d be soaked to the skin and once you’re cold it chills you to the bone, so that was probably the worst.

“There’s nothing you can do abut the weather, you just need to dress accordingly, and at the halfway point I always get a cup of tea and cake which is very welcoming.

“People come out every single day to support me and it is the support from the community which makes this what it is.”

Mr McKee runs the same route every day, normally between 8am and midday before starting work as group leader at nuclear site Sellafield where he does a shift, sometimes from home, from 2pm until 10pm.

He is rotating 22 pairs of trainers during the challenge and said he has been lucky enough to avoid any blisters so far.

Gary McKee marathon challenge
Gary McKee, right, with wife Susan and children Alfie, Beau and Minnie (PA)

Son Beau, 14, and daughter Minnie, 10, are both getting involved in the challenge, with Beau cycling alongside his father on many of the runs and Minnie making loom bands to raise extra money for the charities.

Mr McKee said: “My wife Susan has been a fantastic support as well. She asked me the other day what I would be doing next year. I said let me get through this one first!”

Mr McKee is abstaining from beer for the year and he and Beau will stay at home this summer to carry on the challenge while the rest of the family goes on holiday.

He said: “I don’t see it as a sacrifice, it’s a choice.

“It’s only for a year and I see it as being able to serve the community and help people who really need help.”

Mr McKee began fundraising in 2003 in memory of his father, who was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1997.

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