Dunipace man taking on 100km Cancer Research hill run in memory of mum and friends

A Dunipace man is using his late mother and two close friends as inspiration as he takes on a daring 100-kilometre hill run.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:06 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:08 am

Alan Purcell set himself the challenge of reaching the three-figure distance during the month of April as a way of fundraising for Cancer Research – and paying tribute to mum Barbara and mates Scoff and Bill, who died from the disease.

The 49-year-old, who is originally from Brightons, has been jogging over the farm roads of Dunipace and surpassed the halfway point of his fundraiser.

His plan is to cross the finish line by hauling himself up Dumyat in the Ochils.

Dunipace resident Alan Purcell is tackling a 100km charity hill run in April in aid of Cancer Research in memory of his mum and two friends. Picture: Michael Gillen.

He said: “Cancer charities, along with many charities, have been hit really hard during lockdown.

“Sadly, cancer doesn't stop and so I wanted to do something to keep the flow of money required to fund the research going.

“So far I have raised over £500, so it just shows that even one small effort can help to make a difference.”

Alan only took up running last year during lockdown to get fit.

Alan Purcell is hoping to raise £1000 for Cancer Research. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Both he and friend Scoff enjoyed caving and Alan believes his 100km challenge is a fitting way to pay his respects.

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He explained: “I’m a member of a cave diving group. Scoff was my mentor and was known by hundreds of people. I was very close to him.

“A week after he passed away, my friend Bill passed away from lung cancer. With my mum, it was a triple whammy and was hard going.

“Every family has somebody who’s been either diagnosed with cancer or lost somebody to cancer.

“You hear about it and, until it actually hits you, it’s like something you don’t really think about, but it affects so many people.

“I’m not a runner but I go caving in Yorkshire and a lot of my friends are hill runners and they’ll do 30km up some very steep hills in one go.

“A long time ago I wanted to get fitter and I’d run up the farm road at the back of Dunipace.

“There’s a hill at the back of Dunipace and a farm road parallel with the motorway. The hill is pretty hard. There’s a bit where I just close one eye and keep plodding up.

“I’ve been doing that almost every day for a year just so I can get out. I went at 6am in the snow and had a torch on when it was dark.

“I’ve had to stop a couple of times because my knees were killing me. Last year I was running for a count of 20 and then walking for a count of 20.

“There’s no great feat of endurance. It’s me doing my bit to keep myself sane.

“Last month at some point I thought, ‘I’m doing this anyway, even if I can raise £100 that'll be awesome’.

“I put £1000 down as my target and I’m on £575. Friends and family have supported me and I’m promoting it on LinkedIn.

“If people can donate to me, great. Even if people can’t donate, if they could share the URL online that’d be brilliant.”

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