Fundraiser cheered on as he completes 110 marathons challenge

A fundraiser who has ran a marathon a day for the last 110 days says the challenge has brought the community together.

Gary McKee, 51, was cheered by supporters as took on his final run on Friday, having raised more than £100,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support and West Cumbria Hospice at Home.

Mr McKee, who began fundraising after his father was diagnosed with cancer in 1997, has also been helped along by words of support from stars including runners Mo Farah and Sally Gunnell and the Leeds Rhinos rugby team.

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The father-of-three said the challenge had meant a lot and had brought people together in his home town of Cleator Moor, Cumbria.

“It’s raising awareness for the charities, it’s also raising funds, but it’s bringing the whole community together,” he said.

“You can’t do everything by yourself.”

He has been joined on the way by his family, with his 16-year-old son Alfie and nephew Stuart McKee cycling 110 marathons in 110 days, his son Beau, 13, running 6.2 miles a day and daughter, Minnie, nine, running or cycling three miles a day.

He has also been accompanied by friends Kevin Hetherington, who took part in 55 marathons, and Michael Watson, who joined him for 44.

Mr McKee, who said he had got used to running in the rain, would often complete a marathon before working a shift at nuclear site Sellafield.

He added: “I suppose the highlight of the challenge is seeing how much money you’re raising and how many people you’re reaching out to.”

On Friday, supporters lined the route of the final marathon to cheer on Mr McKee.

Gary McKee (right) with wife Sue and children children Alfie, 16, Beau 13, and Minnie, nine (Macmillan Cancer Support/PA)
Gary McKee with wife Sue and children Alfie, Beau and Minnie (Macmillan Cancer Support/PA)

Sue McDonald, Macmillan fundraising manager for Cumbria, said: “It’s an emotional day for everyone involved with Gary and the team.

“To smash out 110 consecutive marathons is an incredible feat which has so far raised over £106,000 for Macmillan and Hospice at Home West Cumbria.

“The support from Gary’s children and the community in Cleator Moor and West Cumbria has been phenomenal – and to get messages of support from Mo Farah, Sally Gunnell and yesterday from Kevin Sinfield has given everyone such a boost over the many long days.

“There’s quite a few tears of joy and pride today – and with good reason.

“The achievement and the money raised by Gary will make a huge difference to people living with cancer at what has been an acutely challenging time during the pandemic.”

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