Marathon man Tony hits £10k challenge

A FITNESS fan who ran a marathon every day for a month has hit his target of raising £10,000 for his local hospice – with the support of an Irish pop superstar and a sporting legend.


Tony Allen set himself the challenge of running a marathon every day throughout December – including Christmas Day – and received public backing from Caroline Corr, drummer with the rock band The Corrs, who sent Tony a personal video message of support, and marathon queen Paula Radcliffe, who posted his Just Giving page on her Twitter feed.


The 52-year-old dad-of-two from Roker, Sunderland, undertook the tough 817-mile assignment – the equivalent of running to Milan – to raise funds for St Benedict’s Hospice, at Ryhope, which gave palliative care to his late mum. He even completed an ultra marathon of 31 miles on his last run.


Tony, who used to be so overweight he couldn’t tie his shoelaces, squeezed his 26 miles a day around his day job as a sales executive at SG Petch, in Darlington, County Durham.


He was often joined on his runs by some of his colleagues from the Sunderland Strollers, who pledged more than £1,600. And as his story garnered national press coverage, he was delighted to see the total for the hospice increase to £10,000, from 300 donors, including £1,000 from SG Petch and £500 from his father.


“You never know how interested people are going to be but so many people got behind it – particularly with me running at night and in such awful weather. Christmas is a really expensive time so I felt really honoured people gave so much,” said Tony.


“Caroline Corr heard about it from one of the Lakeland runners and sent me a video saying she thought the challenge was awesome and wishing me good luck. Then to get the thumbs up from Paula Radcliffe was fantastic.


“Everything’s back to normal now. I was racing just after the challenge and I’ve run two mountain marathons since.”


Tony’s mum, Jeanie, passed away with cancer four years ago. St Benedict’s palliative care team had looked after her at her home.


Catrina Flynn, fundraising manager at St Benedict’s Hospice, said: “We were never in doubt that Tony would succeed because he’s so dedicated to running and was determined to raise as much as he could for the hospice.


“He was an inspiration to many as he did his amazing nightly runs. We’re very grateful for his support.”


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