Rothwell runner clocks up 1,000 miles in a year

A Rothwell runner who aimed to complete 1,000 miles in a year hit his target with a couple of days to spare, despite having to take several weeks off because of a cardiac scare.

Saturday, 4th January 2020, 6:00 am
Rothwell Festive 10K finish L-R: James MacDonald, Darren Dolman, Sean Connolly, Vicky Ambery
Rothwell Festive 10K finish L-R: James MacDonald, Darren Dolman, Sean Connolly, Vicky Ambery

Sean Connolly, 35, vowed to run the four-figure distance to raise funds for the charity Brain Tumour Research after losing his good friend, former mayor of Rothwell Alan Mills, to a brain tumour in July 2016.

He said: “Just over three years ago I didn’t even run unless I was late for a bus and only started when I signed up to run the London Marathon for Brain Tumour Research in Alan’s memory, who is remembered not least through the many hours of his own time he gave up to help make Rothwell such a great community.

“This year I tackled my first ever 35-mile ultra-marathon, The Shires and Spires, as well as the Berlin marathon, and numerous Parkruns. It wasn’t all plain sailing though as I had a cardiac scare and had to have an enforced period of rest from running, leaving me with 160 miles to run in December.

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Sean at the Festive 10k - picture by Adam Eales Photography

“It was a fantastic feeling achieving the 1,000 miles in my hometown on December 29, with the Rothwell Festive 10K, cheered on by so many of the new friends I have made since I set out on this epic journey. I have to admit, when I saw the 400m to go board by Rock Hill, I did come over a tad emotional, but not nearly as emotional as when I crossed the finish line and realised I had taken over three minutes off my personal best, despite missing out by two seconds on a PB for my 5km parkrun the day before.

“It’s such a great feeling to have succeeded in what I set out to do and I am proud to be raising awareness in memory of Alan. Brain tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1 per cent of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease.

"All I need now is to get my total fundraising for Brain Tumour Research since 2016 to top £10,000 – I have less than £400 to go!”

Sean thanked his friends, family and trainers who helped motivate him to reach the target.

Head of fundraising events at Brain Tumour Research, Carol Robertson, said: “Sean’s commitment and dedication are truly inspirational. To run that distance and raise nearly £10,000 is a phenomenal achievement.

“Alan’s tragic loss reminds us that brain tumours are indiscriminate. They can affect anyone at any age. What’s more, less than 20 per cent of those diagnosed with a brain tumour survive beyond five years compared with an average of 50 per cent across all cancers, and we cannot allow this desperate situation to continue.”

To donate and help Sean achieve his dream of raising £10,000, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/sean-connolly2019.