Cleethorpes lifeboat tractor driver to run ultra-marathon between RNLI stations as part of charity’s 200th anniversary celebrations

Ally McMahon, a tractor driver for Cleethorpes lifeboat, will embark on a 40-mile ultra-marathon between lifeboat stations to mark the 200th anniversary of the charity that saves lives at sea
-Credit: (Image: Ally McMahon)


Ally McMahon, a tractor driver for Cleethorpes lifeboat, will embark on a 40-mile ultra-marathon between lifeboat stations to mark the 200th anniversary of the charity that saves lives at sea.

The 55 year-old, originally from Grimsby but now living in Cleethorpes, is doing this to tie in with the arrival of the RNLI’s commemorative scroll to the Lincolnshire coast. It bears the organisation’s founding pledge and will be signed by representatives as it tours the UK.

Carrying a flagpole to symbolise the presence of the scroll, Ally will start out from Skegness at 7am tomorrow (Saturday, May 25), and will run 16 miles north to Mablethorpe. On arrival he will have a short refuelling break while three representatives sign the scroll.

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From there, he will set off to his own station, Cleethorpes, on The Promenade, an extra distance of 25 miles. Along the way, Ally will be joined by pals and fellow members of their exclusive extreme challenges group – “The 1%s”.

Cleethorpes Lifeboat Station will be open all afternoon and members of the public are invited to the station too, to welcome the runners as they come in. Ally, a teacher of sport and outdoor studies at Park House Academy, has set up a Go Fund Me account which has raised about £300 but, he said: “It’s more about raising awareness of the RNLI.

Ally McMahon's ultra-marathon will see him run between lifeboat stations
Ally McMahon's ultra-marathon will see him run between lifeboat stations -Credit:Ally McMahon

“Everyone who runs along with me will be making a donation and visitors on the day are welcome to too.” Ally has been involved with the RNLI for four years since he was introduced to Cleethorpoes Lifeboat Station by a friend.

He said: “My only regret was that I didn’t join earlier because I have had a really good four years with a great team of people.” On Sunday, the scroll will continue its journey from Cleethorpes to Humber Lifeboat Station.

The scroll flag carried in Ally’s ultra-marathon will make its way over water to Grimsby Dock by lifeboat at the same time a paddle-boarding event is held alongside. The scroll will arrive separately and will be signed by a representative at Humber Lifeboat Station.

Over the course of seven months, the five-metre-long scroll will pass through 240 RNLI locations around the UK and Ireland before finishing its journey in October at Douglas on the Isle of Man, which was home to the RNLI’s founder, Sir William Hillary. By this time it will carry around 700 signatures.

The pledge reads: “Whoever we are, wherever we are from, we are one crew, ready to save lives. We’re powered by passion, talent and kindness, like generations of selfless lifesavers before us. This is our watch, we lead the way, valuing each other, trusting each other, depending on one another, volunteering to face the storm together. Knowing that, with courage, nothing is impossible. That is what has always driven us to save every one we can. It's what makes every one of us a lifesaver.”

A five-metre-long commemorative RNLI scroll will pass through 240 RNLI locations around the UK and Ireland
A five-metre-long commemorative RNLI scroll will pass through 240 RNLI locations around the UK and Ireland -Credit:RNLI

Beneath the pledge, printed in seven languages (English, Irish Gaelic, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Ulster Scots, Manx, and Cornish), it reads: “Signed in 2024 by representatives of the RNLI’s lifesaving communities, on behalf of all who strive to save every one.” Anjie Rook, RNLI associate director, who is overseeing the RNLI’s 200th anniversary programmes, said: “The Connecting our Communities relay is one of the most significant events of the RNLI’s 200th anniversary year as it’s all about our people.

“For 200 years, it is people who have made the RNLI what it is – from our brave lifesavers who risk their lives to save others, to the committed fundraisers and generous donors who fund our lifesaving work.”We asked our communities to express interest in participating in this event and we have been overwhelmed by the response – we’re thrilled to have representation from our stations, lifeguard units and fundraising branches across the UK and Ireland.

“Everything about the scroll – from the design and materials, to the wording printed on it and the locations it’s travelling to – reflects the communities we serve. By the end of the relay we will have an important document which will become part of the charity’s history and a significant snapshot of the charity as it stands at 200 years old.”

Ford are providing an All-Electric E-Transit van to transport the scroll on its journey. When the seven-month-long journey is complete, the scroll will be displayed in the RNLI College in Poole, where the charity’s lifeboat crews and lifeguards are trained.