He is marathon mad.
Neil O’Maonaigh-Lennon is on track to complete an amazing 105 marathons in 105 days, all run around the coast of Britain, for Cancer Research UK.
The 30-year-old from Harrow started from Brighton Pier on September 10 in an attempt to set a world record for the number of consecutive marathons run in one go. He plans to finish his marathon a day back in Brighton on December 23.
After three gruelling, foot-slogging months, clocking up at least 26 miles 385 yards each day, Neil has already exceeded by nearly 40 days the 2009 world record of 52 marathons run in 52 days.
He hopes to raise £10,000 for Cancer Research UK and so far has collected almost £7,000.
Epic running challenges are nothing new to Neil, the son of former Ham&High sports editor and SJA member Pat Mooney. Three years ago, Neil, , who teaches English as a foreign language around the world, ran 30 marathons in as many days around the coastline Taiwan which raised thousands of pounds for Cancer Research and for the Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders.
“My aim from day one is to run every step of the way – there’s no walking,” Neil said.
“It’s definitely a question of mind over body. As long as I don’t get any major injuries I’m confident I will finish back in Brighton on December 23 having run 105 in a row.”
Neil’s inspiration comes from family members – both his grandfathers died from the disease – and runner Terry Fox, who despite being an amputee after losing a leg to cancer, in 1980 ran across Canada and in doing so became a hero for millions. Fox died in 1980 while running his “Marathon of Hope” across Canada.
“I’m sure that each of us knows of someone, whether that be family or friend, who has suffered from cancer,” said Neil.
“What we can do is to fight it head on. That means doing whatever we can to raise money for research in the hope that a cure can one day be found. I lost both my grandfathers to cancer. This is a personal run in memory of them.”
Neil is using a GPS watch to measure exactly where he starts and finishes every day so that the exact distances can be traced.
By Friday, Day 85 of his trek, Neil had battled through the snows in Wales and was making his way through north Somerest, covering the distance in 5hr 16min.
His blog entry for Day 80 describes a gruelling stage that took him across the Brecon Beacons:
“The road soon lead us into the Brecon Beacons with a number of tough uphills which were tamed slowly but surely including one 18% ascent. We made our way along the A40 which wove its way around a number of imposing mountains taking me to 1,465 feet at mile 22. Today, my concentration levels were high and my body felt in good shape as I approached the final break.
“With less than 5 miles to go the road was kind and offered me a gradual descent which was a great ending to a really enjoyable marathon run. I completed 28 miles in 6 hours and 5 minutes. We were within reach of Cardiff and headed into the City centre where I stayed at the Riverfront backpackers opposite from the Millennium Stadium.”
Neil is funding the mammoth run himself and two friends, Sam Aynsley – who has been with Neil since day one – and Rick Alleyne, are providing his back-up motorised support.
Neil has his own website www.marathonmad105.com, where people can check out his blog and updates.
To donate to the cause, you can Text RUN105 to 70003 to donate £3 to Cancer Research UK, or you can sponsor him with the added benefit of Gift Aid at www.justgiving.com/neil-O-Maonaigh-Lennon