Kevin Hetherington from Whitehaven is running 55 marathons in 110 days to support Gary McKee and his 110 marathon challenge.
Kevin is 44, is originally from Aspatria and has now lived in Whitehaven for 23 years. He has been married to Emma for 20 years and they have 2 children, Lewis, 17 and Alana who is 12. We caught up with Kevin last week to talk about how he is getting on, and why he decided to get involved:
Gary McKee is supporting Hospice at Home West Cumbria and Macmillan Cancer Support by running 110 marathons in 100 days. How do you know Gary and what made you decide to get involved in this challenge?
I’ve known Gary for about 4 years. I first met him when he was doing his 100 marathons challenge back in 2017 for Macmillan and I ran a few of the times with him. We kept in touch afterwards and then I run about 40 miles of his Fred Whitton challenge with him a year later.
Gary got in touch and asked me to be one of his support runners for this particular challenge. With the current Covid restrictions in place, Gary can only run with only one other person. Hospice at Home West Cumbria and Macmillan are two amazing charities that have both struggled through the last year, and I wanted to do my bit to help.
What was your reason for choosing to do 55 marathons with Gary?
To be honest I wasn’t planning on doing 55 when I first said yes to running with him, but Gary is impossible to say no to! 55 was a doable amount for me so that I can continue to work and run around my shifts at Sellafield.
Are you an experienced runner?
As an ex semi-professional rugby league player I’ve always kept myself reasonably fit. I started running just over 5 years ago with another of Gary’s support runners, Michael Watson.
What has been the biggest challenge doing the marathons so far?
The biggest challenge is the time it takes out of your day. It’s not just the running, it’s the recovery and making sure that you’re refuelled in preparation for the next run. There’s good days and bad days. Physically and mentally it’s tough and then you have to deal with the west Cumbrian weather! Doing this with Gary, with all his experience and knowledge makes it easier.
We have a good laugh and meet some great people when we’re out running. People clap and cheer us on and I’ve got the nickname ‘Gary’s Mate’ as everyone knows him but not me! The support from everyone has been fantastic and really keeps me going.
You said you want to do your bit to help the charities involved, why is that particularly important to you?
Hospice at Home West Cumbria is a charity I have supported in the past, taking part in the Colour Run at Muncaster with my family in 2018.
My family, like most, has been affected by cancer, and I’ve lost close family members including my Mam and Mother in Law. These 2 charities give fantastic support to people and their families. What Gary and I are doing is nothing compared to what they have to go through after the diagnosis of cancer.
Will you definitely stop at 55?
55 is realistic working around my shifts although it would be good to fit a couple more in.
What is your fundraising target?
Initially it was £1,000 which I was chuffed to pass even before I started. My sponsorship stands at around £6,500 at the minute and I would love to get more to help the charities.
What would you like to say to people who have supported you so far?
A very big thank you to everyone. I am very humbled that so many have generously donated.
On behalf of everyone at Hospice at Home West Cumbria we would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to Kevin for taking on this challenge to support our charity. Every penny raised will stay in west Cumbria and help us care for more patients and their carers and families who need our vital services.