Salford local Martin Cooper has taken on the incredible challenge of running 20 half marathons throughout the month of March in aid of Kidscan.
Kidscan is a kids cancer charity based in Salford and is one of the only organisations in the UK solely dedicated to combating children’s cancer. Its usual fundraising has been limited by the coronavirus lockdowns, and so the money raised from Martin’s challenge is now more important than ever.
Martin’s challenge requires him to complete runs of over 13 miles, on 20 occasions throughout March despite saying he’s ‘not an actual runner’:
“I don’t really do running, I’ve tried to do little bits and pieces in the gym,” he said.
“Then at the beginning of this year, when we came out of Christmas into another lockdown, my boy, he’s nine years old, and his football team gave him a running challenge to do. So obviously, I’d go out with him and I just got into the habit of going out for runs and enjoying it and I felt the benefit of getting fitter.
“I thought what can I do going forward to maintain the journey I’m going on and can I do some positive.
“Everyone’s doing 5K runs, 10K run challenges, why not, I’ll just do 20 half marathons in March, something that nobody’s doing.
“After the third one, the blisters started coming on my feet and then the realisation that I’ve not even trained.
“People do eight, nine, ten weeks training to do one half marathon, they’re maybe trying to do it in a specific time, mine isn’t about time it’s just about doing the challenge itself.
“The blisters are fine now, it’s just the mentality really, I can deal with the aches and pains, it’s more the mindset of trying to get through 13.1 miles each time over and over again.”
He said: “The motivation is the charity, waking up seeing in the last 24 hours what donations you’ve received, it does help.
“I think doing something for charity is quite rewarding in itself, it doesn’t matter if you raise ten pounds, a hundred pounds, or ten thousand pounds.
“I’ve done things for charity in the past, I’ve done a boxing event and things like that. Don’t get me wrong I don’t like getting knocked in the face, I don’t think anybody does, but depending on what you’re doing it for, most charities are suffering from one thing or another or experiencing pain. What you’re doing in a physical challenge is actually a short, temporary pain.”
Martin decided to help raise donations for Salford Kidscan without even realising he had a personal link to the cause:
“Unfortunately, I have had family members, probably like most people, who have been affected by cancer.
“I’ve got two kids of my own and you realise how precious they can be. On a personal level, my boy had a slight scare a couple of years ago where he had a little lump in his neck. Fortunately, it was okay.
“To be honest when I decided to do it for Kidscan, that didn’t enter my head, I didn’t even realise that there actually was a connection to it.
“I just wanted to do something for a local charity who are trying to good things for a really good cause.”
Cancer is the leading cause of death in children in the UK. 25% of children diagnosed won’t make it to their 30th birthday. Kidscan funds and manages research into new and improved treatments for children with cancer.
For more information on Kidscan visit its website.