When the starting horn sounds for the 2017 ASICS Oulton Park Half Marathon on 26th February it will mark the beginning of a very special journey for two brothers. The unique race at Cheshire’s iconic motor racing circuit is the first of 17 half marathons in 2017 for Darren and Phil Gibbons, who are running to raise as much money as possible for Cancer Research UK.
It is an impressive challenge that will require much dedication, training and sacrifice over the coming months, but having lost several members of family and friends to cancer, the two men are committed to raising money to help fund vital research into the disease.
Wanting to kick off their ‘2017 Runathon’ in style, Darren, 32, and Phil, 34, have chosen the ASICS Oulton Park Half Marathon as it is one of the first races in the UK running calendar and a real race with a difference.
“It is a brilliant twist on a half marathon,” confirms Darren, who owns his own garage business. “All our other events are road races, but Oulton Park takes place on a famous race track which will be a fantastic experience.”
It certainly is a race like no other as the half marathon competitors get to run 6 laps of the motor racing track, culminating with a glorious finish straight in the pit lane. A traffic-free race track, super smooth tarmac and superb viewing for spectators make for a fantastic atmosphere and an unmissable race experience for runners.
Taking place on the same day as the ASICS Oulton Park Half Marathon is the ASICS Oulton Park 10K, covering 3 laps of the motor racing circuit. With the 10K starting at 10am and the Half Marathon starting at 12.30pm, the event promises to be a day of fantastic sporting achievement and huge crowd support. It is always a key date for club runners from the surrounding area and an ideal event for anyone taking on their first 10K or Half Marathon, attracting runners of all levels each year.
Once the ASICS Oulton Park Half Marathon is under their belt, Darren and Phil will be spending the next eight months running 16 more 13.1-mile races in cities across the UK, many of which are located between their respective home towns of Hereford and Swansea. Although the plan is to run together on the day, the brothers cannot train together given their distance apart.
“I’m running four to five times a week and going to the gym,” explains Darren, “and I’m feeling pretty sore! I think it will be harder for Phil though as he ran just two half marathons last year while I managed ten. With our races this year we’ll just have to see how it goes on the day, but it would be great if we can cross the finish line together. My PB is 1:44:56 and I’m hoping that by the end of our Runathon I will be running sub 1 hour 30 minutes.”
With two small children, Darren’s training and weekends away inevitably eat into family time, but he is determined to make a difference to Cancer Research UK, a charity that is entirely funded by the public. The world’s leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research, Cancer Research UK works tirelessly to support those affected by cancer, carry out world-class research into the disease and raise valuable funds to beat cancer sooner. Darren and Phil’s target is to raise £1,500 in the fight against a disease that affects one in two people in the UK.
Darren and Phil’s Runathon 2017 fundraising page is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/runathon2017.
Race Director Simon Hill commented: “With less than one month to go before the ASICS Oulton Park Half Marathon & 10K, we are very much looking forward to this popular race which kicks off the road racing season for many runners. We are delighted to welcome Darren and Phil Gibbons as they begin their impressive Runathon of 17 half marathons in 2017, and have every confidence that the motor racing circuit at Oulton Park will be a brilliant first venue for their challenge. We wish them both the very best with all their races this year.
“Entries are open for the ASICS Oulton Park Half Marathon & 10K and we would encourage anyone wishing to take part in this iconic event to register as soon as possible. With fantastic crowd support from the stands and a truly unique course, it is a must-do event for athletes of all levels.”
The ASICS Oulton Park Half Marathon & 10K are run by Xtra Mile Events and the team behind the flat and fast ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon, for which the event is a perfect training race.
Registration to the ASICS Oulton Park Half Marathon & 10K is open now, with entry costing £22 (affiliated) or £24 (unaffiliated) for the 10K, and £27.50 / £29.50 for the half marathon.
Showers, changing facilities and massages are available on site at Oulton Park, and there is free parking for competitors and spectators.
Go to http://xtramileevents.com/events/oulton-park-half-marathon-10k/ for further details and to register.