Willingdon marathon man to take on 10 challenges in mother’s name

Anwar Akchich at St Wilfreds Hospice in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-170126-100741008

Anwar Akchich at St Wilfreds Hospice in Eastbourne (Photo by Jon Rigby) SUS-170126-100741008

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A Willingdon man is taking part in 10 gruelling athletic challenges over 12 months to raise money for charities in the name of his mother who died last year from cancer.

Anwar Akchich, 36, is taking on roughly one event every six weeks, including the Eastbourne Triathlon, and culminating in the Iron Man challenge in September.

The painter and decorator has already completed an 100km and the challenging Beachy Head Marathon but has seven more events to tackle.

He is raising money for St Wilfrid’s Hospice and Macmillan cancer charity in memory of his mother, Pat, and has called his challenge ‘Nanny Pat’s Big 10’ after her.

Anwar said, “On the day my mum died she was meant to go into St Wilfrid’s for care. They turned up to pick her up and we asked them to come in.

“The woman told me to go into the garden and find mum’s favourite flower. When I got back they had made her look nice, had done her hair, and placed the flower on her.

“They gave me the final image of my mum, how can I put a price on that?

“They go above and beyond, it’s so much more than a hospice. I’m forever in their debt.

“And Macmillan were very supportive. It takes a special kind of person to be able to visit dying people.

“I don’t think people understand all they do. I wanted to make people aware and do my bit.

“I had to give something back.”

His next race is the Brighton Half Marathon on February 26. He will then go on to face the Eastbourne Half Marathon (March 5), Brighton Marathon (April 9), the London 2 Brighton 100km ultra-marathon (May 27 and 28), Eastbourne triathlon (June 3), the South Coast Olympic Triathlon (September 2), and finally the Iron Man Challenge later in September.

Anwar said, “I am under no illusion of how hard this will be for me both physically and mentally as I am no athlete, but I have no doubt at all that I will smash every one of these events because, however hard it gets for me along the way, it’s nothing compared to living just one day with cancer.

“I’m asking from the bottom of my heart for people to please donate whatever they can afford to either or both of these amazing charities who help so many people fighting this awful disease.

“And if you see a guy running around Sussex in a bright yellow t-shirt, then give me a beep and a wave.”

Anwar started training from scratch with his personal trainer Jon Morgan in June last year and managed to run 100km in the South Coast Challenge in August.

He says thinking of his mum motivates him to keep going, and he hopes he can show his children Lauren, 11, and Alfie, 10, that nothing is impossible.

He said, “Family and friends have been massively supportive. People I went to school with and haven’t seen for years have given donations of £50.

“It’s obviously touched them which means a lot.”

So far, he has raised more than £1,400 for St Wilfrid’s Hospice, and more than £1,200 for Macmillan Cancer Research.

To donate, visit Anwar’s respective pages for St Wilfrid’s and Macmillan at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/NannyPat10 and www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Nannypatbig10

Anwar would also like to thank his partner Helen Moss and trainers Jon Morgan (of www.facebook.com/apthealthandwellnesscentre) and Stephen Newland (of www.facebook.com/lifeworkbalancemassagetherapy) for helping him get this far.