We catch up with Chris Young, one of our valued Hospice at Home West Cumbria fundraisers, to find out more about how he is supporting us this year.

In true Cilla style, What’s your name and where do you come from?

My name is Chris Young. I’m 29, from Cleator Moor and I’m a health physics monitor at Sellafield.

Tell us about your challenge?

To celebrate my 30th birthday this April, I’ll be running 30 miles a day for 30 days throughout the month. My target is to raise £30k, I aim to support Hospice at Home West Cumbria with a minimum of £25,000. Whilst also looking to provide a minimum of £5,000 for Hearts of Gold via offline donations, to assist them in becoming a charitable organisation and claim gift aid going forward. The 30 mile route will start at my house in Millhill, go up to Rowrah Hall, down to Woodend & Mirehouse, through town and around the harbour, along the wagon road and then out to Parton Shore and back to Mill Hill. There’ll be a rest stop at the 21-mile point where the Ju’s Brews and Di’s Diner will be positioned with refreshments. Different people will be running with me each day and there’ll be a few cyclists too. Anyone can join in and run as little or as much as they like.

How long have you been running and how did you first get into it?

I only started running in 2021. I knew Gary McKee through work and I sponsored a vest in memory of my grandma as part of one of his fundraising challenges – then decided to join in. I’d never really been interested in running but within a few weeks I was hooked!

 What do you like about running?

It really helps me focus. I’ve got ADHD and running allows me to channel all my energy. I’ve also struggled with my mental health in the past and I’ve found that running really helps to calm my mind. I actually think running saved my life – if it didn’t save it, it certainly shaped it. I love the challenge aspect of it – setting myself goals and working towards achieving them, no matter how impossible they may seem at the start. It’s a great way to push yourself to your limits and I get such a buzz from it.

When I started running with Gary, I set myself a target of 52 marathons and then increased it to 78. I ended up completing a total of 92 marathons within 18 months of taking it up.

Running together like that is a huge bonding experience. It really brings communities closer, and I met some amazing people.

Why Hospice at Home West Cumbria?

When I ran alongside Gary last year I met a lot of the hospice team and never felt like a support act. They made me feel valued and part of the experience. That sort of welcome and faith makes you want to give back.

All the money raised for Hospice at Home West Cumbria stays in the area too. Every penny goes to support local families so you can see the impact.

I was also honoured to meet so many people out in the community who had benefitted from hospice care, families like the Hayes. Hearing their stories first hand and seeing how much difference the charity makes to people’s lives, you can’t not be inspired to get out and do something.

What’s your favourite part of running a marathon?

Getting everyone motivated and involved and seeing other people enjoying themselves – it’s just such good craic. It’s great to see a big group of people all doing things to better themselves physically and mentally. It really lifts you up.

What preparation or training have you been doing?

I try to run 4 or 5 times a week and have already clocked up about 500 miles this year. I also do regular gym sessions.

Do you have any special routines that you follow before or after a marathon?

I get up early so there’s plenty of time for a couple of coffees and a good breakfast – something like eggs on toast. For this challenge, a local sports therapist has offered to provide me with free massages to relax my muscles. People have been so kind and supportive – it’s so great that they want to help.

Do you have any lucky mascots or little traditions / superstitions that you follow?

I always wear the same style of trainers each time I run!

Who will be running with you?

Different people will be coming out every day. There’s quite a few of the crew from Team 365 (the runners who supported Gary McKee) so there’ll be plenty of laughs and reminiscing along the way.

People are also doing their own challenges alongside mine too. Paul McKendry is running 10 of the 30 marathons with me and there’s a lady called Alwyn who’ll be walking 3 miles each day.

I’m also going to be doing one of the runs on a treadmill at Urban Performance in Egremont so my dad can row 30 miles alongside me. It’s going to be great.

There’ll be a few familiar faces in my support team too. Michael and Elwyn (from Team 365) are going to come out and take photos and there will be refreshments at the 21-mile point.

How can people help or support you?

There are loads of different ways that people can support the challenge – everything is appreciated.

  • Any spare pounds or pennies can be added to my fundraising page: Chris Young is fundraising for Hospice At Home West Cumbria | Give as you Live Donate
  • Individuals or businesses can become ‘day sponsors’ and ask me to run in memory of a loved one or representing a business or organisation. Simply put your £100 donation on the fundraising page and request a specific date and name etc in the comments.
  • Anyone is welcome to run or cycle alongside me – for as little or as far as you want. I’ll be starting each day at 9am. See my Facebook page for details 
  • If you’d like to take up your own personal challenges during April in support you can donate funds to the fundraising page.
  • … And no worries if you are not able to donate. Simply sharing posts on social media or spreading the word costs nothing but is invaluable!
  • Even giving me a friendly wave on the route would be appreciated – everything helps.

What advice would you give to someone starting long distance running for the first time?

It’s not about pace. At the end of the day, it’s got to be enjoyable. You should train to your capability and stop and start as much as you need. Throw yourself into it – and enjoy the ride!

What do you want to have achieved by the end of the challenge?

I’d love to raise my £30k target. But first and foremost, I would like to inspire people, get them to push their boundaries and challenge themselves. Gary did that for me – now I want to pass that on.

Who are your running heroes?

Easy! It’s got to be Marathon Man – the legendary Gary McKee.

 If you could pick 3 people to run with you, who would it be?

Ultra marathon runner (and overall superman) David Goggins, musician Sam Fender and footballer Steven Gerard.

What’s on your running playlist?

Dance music – and lots of it!

How will you be celebrating your 30th birthday?

We’re putting on a charity event at Hensingham Club with plenty of entertainment, food & drinks and music from the brilliant Ged Hagan. Tickets will be on sale soon. Watch out on my facebook page for more details.

What’s the best piece of life advice that anyone has ever given you.

“If you can be anything – be nice.”

 Let’s play CHOOSE / REFUSE…

After you’ve finished a marathon what would you CHOOSE and what would you REFUSE..

  • In your glass: A Pint of water or pint of lager…. A Pint of water
  • In your house: A warm bath or a freezing shower…. A warm bath
  • On your plate: A sausage roll or a sugary donut… A sausage roll
  • On your TV: An episode of Game of Thrones or an episode of Eastenders… Game of Thrones
  • In your headphones: Ed Sheeran or Led Zeppelin – It’s got to be Led over Ed!
  • At night: A celebratory night out or an early bedtime? Hmmmmm, chuck a coin. It could go either way!

Apart from turning 30, what’s next?

In October I’m planning to run 84 miles in one day as part of World Mental Health Day. Watch this space!