TWO friends were given a boost by a college after setting off on the first of five gruelling charity half-marathons.
Phil Henderson and Gareth Foreman are doing 13.1 miles runs around Hartlepool each day this week for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
Phil’s wife, Helen, was diagnosed with a tumour the size of a fist in April last year – just eight months after they were married.
The 29 year old is on the road to recovery and Phil, 29, and Gareth, 28, are keen to show their support for the lifechanging charity.
They will cover 65.5 miles during the runs that come to a stop on Friday near Hartlepool College of Further Education, in Stockton Street.
The pair’s epic challenge will be studied by students to see the effects of fatigue and how the body recovers.
Phil, a detective constable with Hartlepool CID from the Deer Park area of town, said: “We’re finishing each of the runs in Church Square then going over to the college.
“We’ll map the runs with a runkeeper so we know how far and how fast we have gone.
“They’ll then test our general fatigue levels and put us in ice chambers and hot baths to see how we react.
“We’re really thankful for the support from the college. It’s going to be a long week and we’ll need all the help we can get.”
The duo are starting their runs at West Hartlepool Rugby Club, who they both play for, before heading to West View Road, over to the Headland, down to the marina and across to Seaton Carew.
They will then head along Coronation Drive and finish in the town centre.
Phil said: “Everything went according to plan, we had a group of people supporting us as we set off and cars were beeping as we were running. We felt a bit like John Bishop when he did his challenge for Sport Relief!
“It took us just under two hours, so we were quite pleased.
“We were both a bit stiff and tired by the end of the run, but we haven’t reallty got time to dwell on that with a run each day until the end of the week!”
Phil and Gareth, a process operator from the Brierton Lane area of town, have already raised £4,500, including £800 from a police charity golf tournament, and are hoping to boost the fund further in the coming days.
Helen, an occupational therapist, has also organised a sell-out charity ball at their wedding venue to raise money for Cancer Research UK and North Tees.
It’s to be held at Gisborough Hall on Thursday, April 5, almost exactly a year from when she was first diagnosed. The couple are hopeful that doctors will have confirmed Helen is in remission by then.
To support the charity runs, visit Phil’s Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/philip-henderson and Gareth’s at www.justgiving.com/gareth-foreman
l Mail view: Page 8