Mail man shines for cancer charity

Kelly Smith and Richard Mennear
Kelly Smith and Richard Mennear

MAIL reporter Richard Mennear is putting his feet up for a well-earned rest after completing a marathon charity challenge in a bid to raise cash for cancer research.

Richard took part in Shine 2011, a 26.2 mile night-time walk through the streets of Manchester to raise money for Cancer Research UK, alongside thousands of other fundraisers.

He completed the marathon charity trek alongside his girlfriend, Kelly Smith, 23, her 21-year-old sister Dayna and their parents Ian Smith, 50 and Frances Smith, 49.

Richard and Kelly proudly hobbled over the finish line after nine hours despite blisters and aching limbs threatening to get the better of them.

It was the second time that the walking marathon had been held in Manchester and organisers have also arranged Shine events in Glasgow and London later this year.

Richard is aiming to raise £500 for the charity, which has organised the annual event, and there is still time to sponsor him.

The 25-year-old. who lives in town, said: “We had been hoping to better last year’s time of around seven-and-a-half hours, but unfortunately the blisters on the soles of my feet got the better of me and we had to slow right down.

“We crossed the line after nine hours and it was a huge relief.

“Kelly’s mum managed to power walk the whole route in around six hours, while her dad and sister were not far behind, completing the marathon in just over seven hours.

“This is the second time that we have taken part in the event, which is a great way of raising money for Cancer Research UK, and the atmosphere on the night was fantastic.

“It is inspiring to hear different people’s stories and that is what keeps you going.”

The walk, which took in the Trafford Centre, Manchester United’s Old Trafford ground and The Curry Mile, got underway at 9pm last Sunday.

Richard, a former pupil Brierton Comprehensive School, added: “There was around 7,000 walkers taking part this time and the organisers were hoping to raise £1.4m in sponsorship, which would be a tremendous effort.

“We haven’t decided yet whether to make it a hat-trick next year, I think we’ll wait till the blisters clear up first.”

Participants could choose to either walk the full 26.2 miles or the half marathon, which is 13.1 miles.

To sponsor Richard visit www.sponsormetoshine.org/kellylouisesmith