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Saturday, 23 October 2021
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First-timer to take on the London Marathon to raise funds for Francis House Children’s Hospice

ALISTAIR Orr is gearing up to run the London Marathon this Sunday to raise vital funds for Francis House Children’s Hospice.

Alistair, from Leeds, is hoping that months of training will be enough to get him across the finish line, as he has never run a marathon before. Francis House Children’s Hospice provides care and support to the families of children and young people with life-limiting conditions from its base in Didsbury, Manchester.

In preparation for the marathon event, Alistair has been pounding the streets of Leeds and running circuits over the Humber Bridge to his hometown of Hull.

The 33-year-old runner said:

“I used to enjoy sprinting at school but have only taken up longer distances over the past five to six years, taking part in parkruns, and a variety of 10K’s and Half Marathons.

“Over lockdown, I managed to complete a 15 miler which was the first time I thought a marathon might be possible, and since getting a place to run the London Marathon, I have built up the mileage progressively.

“The longest I’ve run to date is 22 miles so I’m hoping the crowd on the day will help to keep me going for the remaining miles.”

The mass participation event returns to the streets of London on Sunday, October 3, with more than 40,000 runners expected to take part.

Alistair said:

“I have always wanted to attempt it – it’s an amazing event to watch as a spectator and certainly one that’s been on my bucket list for many years. To be able to soak in the support from the crowds around the entire course and pass all of its iconic landmarks will be something special.”

Alistair’s fiancée Emma Stanbury is expecting the couple’s first baby in December and will be in the crowd to cheer him on.

Alistair said:

“Emma is the reason why I started running longer distances, she’s supported me throughout my training, and always believed that I could one day do a marathon so I’m hoping to make her proud with a good time.”

Running has also given Alistair an excuse to get outside after two years of working from home. He said:

“Friends got me onto Strava which has been a great tool to keep track of my training and encouraging me to go out on those lazy days when I would love to put my feet up and watch TV instead.

“Running is so accessible – you can open the front door and just run. Doing long distances lets you see more of the city and the changes that are going on around it over time.”

In 2018, Alistair ran the Manchester Half Marathon for Francis House and when the invite came through to apply for one of the hospice’s marathon places, he jumped at the chance.

He said:

“It’s great to be supporting a local northern charity who are doing some fantastic work in helping support vulnerable children and families going through extremely difficult times.

“I’m hoping to come in sub 3hrs 30 minutes, but I think on the day I’ll be happy just to make it across the finish line.”

Julie Williams fundraising officer at Francis House said:

“We wish Alistair good luck on Sunday and would like to thank him for choosing to support Francis House and hospice care. We rely heavily on the generosity of the public, it’s an uphill struggle to raise the £4.2 million in running costs that we need every year, and we are very grateful to everyone who has sponsored Alistair.”

To support Alistair and his fundraising for Francis House, please visit his Virgin Money Giving page.

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