30 April 2019

A teacher at Birkenhead Sixth Form College is set to run over two hundred miles in a bid to raise money for charity.

Art teacher Alan Redfern has set himself the staggering target of running coast to coast, a total of 214.6 miles, for Maggie’s in Clatterbridge who help those suffering with cancer and their families.

With a marathon being 26.2 miles long, Alan’s target is more than eight times that distance in just four days, starting on Hornsea beach in East Riding of Yorkshire and finishing at the College.

Dubbed the ‘ridiculous run’, Alan’s challenge is part of an effort from staff and students at Birkenhead Sixth Form College to raise £10,000 for Maggie’s, as colleagues have benefitted from their charitable services.

Alan said: “I think part of being a teacher and working in a College and a community like this is helping others who need help. I can only help by doing stupid things! I’m probably no good at helping practically or giving the arm around the shoulder, so the only way I could think of helping was raising money by doing something difficult.

“I thought that there’s more chance of me raising more money if I really push myself. I thought that the students might sponsor me, just to see their teacher in pain! That’s definitely worth a couple of quid.”

Alan’s not setting a target total to raise as he did not want the added pressure on himself or others, but he hopes to raise as much as possible for such a valuable cause.

Asked about his motivation, Alan said: “Cancer. I’ve got that many relatives, friends, colleagues who have all struggled with cancer and the horrible thing about it is that it can hit anyone at any time. It doesn’t discriminate. That terrifies me.

“A lady from Maggie’s came into the College to give a talk at the start of the year, and one phrase she used stuck with me – ‘how do you tell your kids that you’ve got cancer?’. It affects one in three people. It’s likely that I could be that one person out of three. How could I tell my children? How do they cope? So to have places like Maggie’s is so important. It’s not just for the people with cancer; it’s for their families who are struggling to come to terms with it. That message really sunk in.”

Although a veteran runner, Alan’s latest challenge is a new one on his list.

He explained: “I’ve never done something like this before. The furthest I’ve run in a day was 89 miles, and I couldn’t walk the next day. I’ve done 50 miles three or four times, and I’m doing a 24-hour run in preparation for this, from midday one day to midday the next in the Lake District.

“I think it’s mind-set. I’ve done 25 or 30 marathons and iron man challenges – if you think you’re going to get tired then you get tired. If you go out to enjoy it then you will.

“If we’re talking about 53 miles a day, I enjoy the first 40. After that I don’t enjoy it, but I get such a buzz when I’ve finished it. A real runner’s high.”

You can sponsor Alan’s ‘ridiculous run’ which takes place between 8th and 11th July via his Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/coast-to-coast214