The Yorkshire Marathon: First steps of 5,000 miles for one runner

Andy Wright from Mirfield, who has pledged to run 5,000 miles in 5 years in aid of Kirkwood Hospice.'''Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
Andy Wright from Mirfield, who has pledged to run 5,000 miles in 5 years in aid of Kirkwood Hospice.'''Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe
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FOR the thousands of runners who will start the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon on Sunday morning, each will have been on a very individual journey, involving months of training, with touching experiences pushing them forward.

The father-of-two has challenged himself to run 5,000 miles over the next five years to raise money for Huddersfield’s Kirkwood Hospice.

The Yorkshire Marathon: Road closures and travel information

The library service manager from Mirfield, West Yorkshire, only began running in 2010, when he went from self-confessed “couch potato” to running a marathon in six months.

The 5,000 mile challenge - the equivalent of running from Kirkwood Hospice to the Grand Canyon - will be made up of long weekend runs, challenges like the Yorkshire Marathon, and smaller runs fitted in when he can.

Mr Wright, 48, said: “The Yorkshire Marathon counts as the first 26.2 miles, I then simply have to run a further 4,973.8 miles, and I’m done.

“I’m planning on running it in bits, so as long as I stay fit and healthy it is doable.”

He chose to support the hospice because of the “incredible” work of the staff there.

“You have to be a particular kind of person to work in that kind of an environment and I know that I am not that kind of person,” he said. “However, I want to do what I can to support the people who are, and what I can do is run.”

Sunday’s Yorkshire Marathon is the third to be held in York. This year’s event includes a corporate relay featuring 120 teams, which splits the marathon course into more accessible chunks, and, for the first time, a more accessible ten mile run.

Since 2013, the event has raised millions of pounds for charity, and it is part of the legacy created by late Leeds fundraiser Jane Tomlinson.

Famous faces taking part in the Yorkshire Marathon

Runners can raise funds for any charity, but are encouraged to support one of the event’s partner charities Martin House Children’s Hospice, Candlelighters, Macmillan Cancer Support, Yorkshire Cancer Research, Parkinson’s UK, the Haven, CLIC Sargent, St Leonard’s Hospice, Sue Ryder and the Jane Tomlinson Appeal.

But the event is about more than charity. It has also established itself as a “must do” on the elite calendar, and this year a new prize structure has been introduced for the winning athletes and the top British and Irish runners. Among the top runners who will take part will be Kenyan Edwin Korir, who is back to defend his 2013 title. He will have competition from Salford-based Kenyan runner Tarus Elly, who came fifth in 2013.

Among the female elite athletes are Ripon Runners’ member Tori Green, who set a new personal best of just over 2 hours 50 minutes at this year’s London Marathon. She came second at Sheffield Half Marathon in April.

Followers of athletics will be used to hearing the name of Emily Freeman, but will not associate it with distance running. Ms Freeman, 34, who lives in Sheffield but is a member of the Wakefield Harriers running club, represented Great Britain in the 200m at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

During her years of competing at the highest level, Ms Freeman – a member of the 4x100m relay team that won silver at the 2006 European Championships – often had medals in her sights, but this is her first marathon. She will be running in aid of the Disability Trust.

The Yorkshire Marathon in numbers

77: The age of the oldest runner taking part.

23: The number of runners celebrating their birthdays on the day.

2,072: The number making their marathon debut.

800: The number of volunteers helping to make it a success.

58,200: The number of bottles of water – that’s a total of 20,600,000mls - and 20,800 bottles of iPro Sport isotonic drink.

39,000: The number of safety pins in use on the day, keeping those numbers safe and secure.

2,224: The number of calories a runner who weighs 9st 4lbs will burn - around seven of McDonald’s Big Macs.