Man’s Paris Marathon after father loses cancer battle

Oliver Checkley SUS-160704-120630001

Oliver Checkley SUS-160704-120630001

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A 350 mile round trip, a 26.2 mile race, and more than £1, 250 raised for charity was all in a weekend’s work for Eastbourne resident Oliver Checkley.

Oliver, 32, was one of 47,000 participants in the Paris marathon on Sunday April 3 - and one of the 41,000 that managed to complete the race.

His finish time of four hours and 11 minutes has so far raised £1,254 for charity Macmillan Cancer Support - a cause particularly close to Oliver’s heart.

His father, Eastbourne resident Stephen Checkley, lost his battle with the disease in November 2014, less than a year after being diagnosed. Stephen was a popular local figure in Eastbourne, where he had lived all of his life.

Oliver credited the Macmillan nurses with supporting him and his father during a very difficult time. He said, “Since my Dad passed away on November 19, 2014, just days after he got married and my 30th birthday, I have wanted to do something to raise funds for Macmillan.

“The charity was simply outstanding during a very difficult time. I never thought a marathon would be the challenge I would take on, but having observed a good friend train and complete the London marathon I felt inspired.

“I wanted to do something in memory of my old man and I knew it had to be big.”

Oliver began training in earnest last summer, entering 10km events and two half marathons. But he knew there was still a huge challenge ahead.

He said, “I trained for months to get marathon-ready, which at times was tough - particularly with an ankle injury.

Conditions on the day of the marathon were very warm at 21 degrees celsius, which made the challenge even tougher for Oliver, whose most intensive training had been through the British winter complete with ice, wind and rain.

He said, “The support everyone has showed me throughout has been beyond belief.

“Macmillan truly are an amazing organisation offering essential support to both those living with cancer and their wider family and friends. This was my way of thanking them for the incredible work they do.

“I’d also like to thank everyone who has given so far in memory of my dad.”

To sponsor Oliver visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/runcheckersrun.

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