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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Carlisle runner's marathon for hospice which cared for mum

A runner is taking on his toughest test yet in a gruelling challenge to raise money in memory of his mum.

Chris Little photo
Chris Little

Chris Little, 34, is in training to compete in a 50k ultra marathon through the Lake District.

And with every step he takes he will be raising money for a group of professionals he considers “angels” for the support they gave his family – and continue to give others – through its most difficult days.

Chris’ mum, Sigrid, died aged 70 at Carlisle’s Eden Valley Hospice in April 2010. She had been suffering from Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

The Carlisle man started running in early 2009, just a few months after his mum’s diagnosis.

He wanted to raise money for the MND Association and did the Great North Run and walked Hadrian’s Wall in September 2009.

Since then he’s continued running and, after completing a few half marathons and lots of trail races, thought 50k through the Lake District would be a “good test”.

This time, he thought the hospice, on Durdar Road, should benefit from his efforts.

Chris, who lives in Denton Holme with wife Fiona and five-month-old daughter Eve, said: “Being diagnosed with MND is a death sentence – there’s no cure. You wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy.

“Mum’s death came very quickly and, to be honest, for both me and my dad it was a shock. The three of us had only been shopping in Carlisle two days earlier spending her Christmas vouchers because it was one of the first decent days after that long bad winter.

“She went in the hospice on the Thursday night and within 24 hours she’d gone. It wasn’t drawn out or painful and the staff couldn’t have made mum more comfortable.”

Sigrid had spent quite a few days in the hospice, so Chris and dad Gordon, of Monkhill, knew how good everyone there is.

“The staff at the hospice are like angels. Nothing is too much trouble and no matter how bad things are they’ve always got a smile for you,” added Chris, a communications adviser at Cumbria County Council.

“It must be so hard dealing with difficult situations and seeing families upset. It takes a very special person to work there.

“I wanted to raise money for them because it costs nearly £3m a year to run the hospice which relies almost entirely on donations.”

Training for next Saturday’s race has been going well, although Chris admits that fitting it in while looking after Eve hasn’t been easy – meaning his wife’s had to put up with a lot.

But he’s sure all the effort will be well worth it, although the challenge certainly isn’t for the faint-hearted.

“The race is 50k. I know that that’s the shortest ultra marathon but it’s long enough for now!

“It starts at Patterdale, up to Grisedale Tarn and down to Dunmail Raise, across to Watendlath and then up Langstrath and over Stake Pass before going though Great Langdale and Ambleside and finishing at Brockhole.

“It’s not so much a race against the other competitors but more against myself. It won’t be easy but knowing that people in the hospice will benefit will spur me on.”

To sponsor Chris, go to www.justgiving.com/Chris-Little79

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