Wigan dads are marathon men

Two dads overcame old injuries to complete a running challenge and raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Monday, 10th April 2017, 9:39 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 6:41 pm
Fundraisers Gary Baker and Stuart Phoenix, right

Gary Baker and Stuart Phoenix, from Springfield, ran three half marathons and four 10ks - totalling 103km - in seven days.

It was a difficult week for the men, who do not class themselves as runners and had old injuries from playing football and rugby.

But they kept putting in the miles and achieved their goal.

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Gary, 45, said: “It went as well as we expected. It was tough, but coming towards the last half marathon it was very, very hard. It’s because of the constant pounding on the legs and feet that we are not used to.”

The men were joined on some of their runs by their wives and daughters.

They chose a variety of routes, but Wigan’s hills did prove to be a challenge.

Gary said: “We tried to mix it up on different days and different areas to run, but Wigan is very hilly and it’s difficult to find a half marathon in Wigan without a hill.

“We did some scenic routes through Mawdesley and Ashton.”

The final run ended at the Springfield Hotel, where a fun day was held for 180 people.

The men were raising money for three causes close to their hearts - Cancer Research UK, Brain Tumour Research and MS Research - inspired by friends and relatives, including their mothers.

They had hoped to raise £2,000, to be shared between the three charities, but they have smashed that target and their total currently stands at £3.400.

The final donations are being collected as the men rest their weary bodies.

But dad-of-two Gary is already thinking about his next challenge. Last year he ran seven 10ks in seven days and stepped up the mileage this year.

He said: “It’s very hard to get people to sponsor you so I always try to up my game and do something different.

“One idea is to do seven half marathons in seven days next year or do a marathon.”

Donations can still be made at www.justgiving.com/teams/MarathonMenChallenge.