A fundraiser is limbering up for a marathon year as he prepares to run 26.2 miles every day of 2022.
Gary McKee, 52, hopes to raise £1 million for Macmillan Cancer Support and Hospice at Home West Cumbria by taking on his biggest challenge yet.
He said: “I’ve been a fundraiser for Macmillan for coming up 20 years and I’ve done lots of things – cycled in Brazil, climbed Kilimanjaro, ran from Land’s End to John O’Groats, jumped out of aeroplanes and earlier this year I did 110 marathons on 110 consecutive days.
“At the end of that challenge I just thought there was plenty left for me to go at.”
Mr McKee will set off from his home in Cleator Moor, Cumbria, on New Year’s Day for his first of 365 runs.
He will be sacrificing family holidays and giving up alcohol for the year while he takes on the challenge.
The marathons will have to fit in around his work and family commitments, and he plans to run at 7am on weekday mornings, in time to start his shifts at nuclear power plant Sellafield at 2pm.
He said: “These are 365 opportunities to raise money to help people.
“To me it is just four hours running a day, which isn’t difficult. What is difficult is watching somebody face cancer.”
Can you help? pic.twitter.com/cp5PQTGfsF
— Gary McKee (@Marathon_Man365) December 29, 2021
He will be supported along the way by children Alfie, 16, Beau, 14, and Minnie, aged nine, who all got involved with their own challenges when he took on 110 marathons in 110 days earlier in the year.
He said: “Watching them is what spurs me on and keeps me going, It is really powerful how it can pick you up.”
But his biggest supporter is wife Susan, Mr McKee said.
He said: “She has supported me from day one and she knows the next challenge is usually bigger than the previous one.
“She supports me on every step that I take and people don’t realise how much that support means. She is fantastic.”
Mr McKee began fundraising in 2003 in memory of his father.
“My dad was diagnosed with lung cancer in June 1997,” he said.
“It was a devastating time. He didn’t know what he was going to face and it knocked the wind out of him.
“It turns your world upside down.
“He was a cancer survivor and he had a lung removed. He passed away in 2003, but it wasn’t cancer-related, and I just wanted to do something in his memory.
“I thought back to when he had cancer and I wanted to provide funds to support other people in similar situations.”
Mr McKee is also hoping to get schoolchildren involved in the challenge so they can experience the benefits of running.
He said: “Running is a fantastic thing for mental health. You can do it anywhere – although I’m lucky to live in the Lake District. It clears your mind and puts you at ease.”
Sue McDonald, Macmillan Cancer Support’s fundraising manager for Cumbria, said: “We’d like to thank Gary for his amazing commitment to raise funds for two causes close to his heart.
“His efforts last year were extraordinary enough, but this 365 Challenge is almost incomprehensible in the scale of its ambition.”
Mr McKee will be giving updates on his progress through the year on Facebook page Marathon Man 365 and can be sponsored at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/threesixfive.