High five for running mates friends

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TWO exhausted friends staggered over the finishing line after running 65.5 miles in five days.

Phil Henderson and Gareth Foreman pounded 13.1 miles of Hartlepool pavements each day 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, were keen to do something to show their support for the life-changing charity.

And their dedication to the cause saw them run four of the runs in under two hours, with Friday’s run taking slightly longer due to their weary legs.

Yesterday’s finish in Church Square saw scores of family and friends turn out to cheer the best mates, who both play for West Hartlepool Rugby Club, over the line.

Phil, a detective constable with Hartlepool CID who is from the Deer Park area of town, said: “To finish with so many people there was brilliant. The support we have received has been fantastic.

“It has been hard. It’s been really warm and you feel like you have nothing left, but you have to pick yourself up and go again.

“Thursday was by far the hardest because we were so drained, and we still had a way to go.”

The pair have raised more than £6,000, after setting a target of £2,000, by running from their rugby club to the Headland, down to the marina and along to Seaton Carew before heading back to the town centre.

They have also received the backing of Hartlepool College of Further Education, in Stockton Street, where staff offered their facilities in exchange for students studying the effects the runs had on Phil and Gareth.

Phil added: “We are really pleased to have raised so much for such a good cause, but it’s about giving a bit of hope as well.

“One lady stopped us on the way round and said she was really happy with what we were doing to fight cancer because she had had it as well. It’s about the people who it effects.”

Phil and Gareth, a process operator from the Brierton Lane area of town, say people can still donate to their cause.

Helen, an occupational therapist, has also organised a sell-out charity ball at their wedding venue to raise money for Cancer Research UK and the University Hospital of North Tees where she was treated.

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 efforts, visit Phil’s Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/philip-henderson and Gareth’s at www.justgiving.com/gareth-foreman