Seven down, 45 to go, and Darren West is making huge strides with his challenge to run 52 half marathons in 52 weeks in his 52nd birthday year.
The Harrogate Harrier has taken up the challenge to raise £5,200 for Clifford-based Martin House Hospice which cares for children with life-limiting illnesses, providing support for their families.
With £850 so far, Darren is trying to boost donations throughout the year.
He said: “I’m into my second month and I feel that my target is going quite well. I have spoken to a lot of businesses and I use my website, so I’m confident the donations will come in.”
Originally from Bradford but a Harrogate resident since 1986, Darren has competed in aid of Alzheimer’s, cancer, and diabetes charities, but Martin House is a cause for which he has a lot of time.
He said: “I decided that I would run for Martin House one year and I raised £300. I felt that this was not enough and I wanted to raise more.
“The children of Martin House Hospice live their lives one day at a time and for their families every day is precious. I am lucky enough to be in good health which is why I am taking on this challenge.
“If I can bring a little bit of funding to an organisation for children that don’t have much of a life then I can give back to the hospice something that helps.”
By the end of the year, Darren, a graphic designer, will have run 681.2 miles and has already completed half marathons in Central Lancashire, Anglesey, York, Watford, Liversedge, Brighton, and Eton Dornay. But, despite a little niggle in his knee, Darren says he feels comfortable and appreciates the support from his family and fellow Harriers along the way.
“I have had quite a few people from the Harriers running with me at some of the events, and it’s enjoyable to have some company.
“Jenny, my wife, has followed me everywhere and our little boy Harry has got to see all the great places that we have never been to.”
A member of the RAF for six years in the 1980s, Darren ran cross country before settling down to married life. It was almost eight years before he was encouraged to return to the track, when he started taking part in various events including 100 mile cycle races and long distance walking.
Martin House Events Manager Caroline Hudson said: “We are delighted that Darren has undertaken to complete this mammoth challenge and raise money for Martin House in the process.
“In 2014 we aim to care for 340 seriously ill children and their families.
“Our services are provided free of charge and, with very little coming from statutory funding, the support of the local community will enable us to do this.
“We wish Darren all the best with his running and will keep our fingers crossed for good weather and no injuries throughout the year.”
Donations can be made at www.justgiving.com/52halfs and Darren tracks his progress at www.52halfs.com.