When three members of Seagate staff, Richard Gamble, Kevin McDermott and Brian Durnin, decided to do something to raise funds for Cancer Research UK, they certainly talked themselves into a huge challenge.
You could even say they have definitely put their heart and ‘sole’ into it - as they will complete the Great North Run next weekend while inside a large shoe.
The iconic run, which is considered the greatest half marathon in the world, will see them take to the streets of Newcastle upon Tyne on Sunday 13th September, and run with around 50,000 others, starting in the heart of Newcastle, crossing the famous bridge and finishing by the sea in South Shields.
With just nine days to go until the big day, the men have been training really hard in order to build up their distance.
Speaking to the ‘Journal’ Richard said, “We are finding it extremely tough but we’re determined to run those 13 miles - even if we keel over at the finish line.”
With the great Northern Irish summer throwing every type of weather at them during training, the men are getting to know exactly how the ‘Big Shoes’ respond to a variety of conditions.
“We’ve reached the conclusion that what we need is a dry day, not too warm, and with no wind ... what are the chances of that in Newcastle in mid-September?
“Deep down, we know we could see four seasons in one day, but here’s why the weather is so important to us.
“If it’s warm and sunny our Big Shoes will have us drenched in sweat.
“If it rains they appear to double their weight as they absorb the moisture.
“If it’s windy they take on the properties of a kite and we’re almost lifted off the ground.”
Something else they have learned about their Big Shoes is that they don’t fit into a domestic washing machine - which is why they can sometimes be spotted sitting outside the Seagate Springtown site drying off.
They all agree that this isn’t a great substitute for washing their running gear, but short of running through a car wash, it’s the best they can do - with a little help from Febreze - which apparently they are using in industrial quantities!
However, the intrepid three say their motivation remains unshaken, as they are raising vital funds for Cancer Research UK to continue its life-saving work.
Cancer Research UK is the largest charitable funder of Cancer Research in Northern Ireland spending over £2.5 million each year on research, primarily at the dedicated CRUK Centre in Belfast, where scientists, doctors and nurses from across the region come together to find better ways to detect, monitor and treat cancer.
Cancer Research UK also co-funds the NI Cancer Trials Network, with the Clinical Trials team developing and conducting clinical trials into new cancer treatments in five Northern Ireland hospitals, including Altnagelvin.
Sharon Arbuckle, Local Fundraising Manager for Cancer Research UK in Derry said, “We are very grateful to staff at Seagate for their continued support and wish the ‘sole runners’ lots of luck in their endeavour.
“Cancer Research UK receives no government funding, so every penny donated brings forward the day when all cancers are cured.”
If you would you like to support Richard, Kevin and Brian in their fundraising effort you can do so online at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/solerunners