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CHARITY MATTERS: Marathon man’s year on the road
ULEN Neale is nearing completion of an incredible challenge — to run 12 marathons in 12 months in 2012.
Mr Neale, 41, from Stanford in the Vale, near Wantage, completed his 10th marathon of the year in his home event in Abingdon last Sunday, to raise funds for two charities close to his heart – Sobell House Hospice in Headington, and PSC Support.
The IT consultant at Oxford Computer Consultants finished the Abingdon Marathon in four hours, 30 minutes and four seconds, his fastest time of the year, and about 20 minutes faster than his previous best time.
He was determined to take on the challenge to raise money for Sobell House Hospice, which cared for his mother Thérèse when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She died aged 69 last December.
Mr Neale also wanted to run in memory of his brother Carl, who died aged 31 in 1997 from Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC), a degenerative liver disease.
Money from the fundraising will be split equally between the two charities and £300 has been raised so far.
Mr Neale said: “I came up with the idea of running the 12 marathons but it was going to be for fun.
“When I was in training for the marathon, my mum was diagnosed with cancer and it knocked me for six – it made me more determined.
“On Sunday I really wanted to put in the effort as it is my home marathon in Abingdon.
“This is number 10 and I have been averaging one a month.
“It was hard work but I pushed myself a bit further to do a faster time.”
Having previously completed the London Marathon in 2009, Mr Neale ran the Edinburgh and Loch Ness marathons in 2010, and in 2011 he ran in the Brighton and Liverpool events.
But he wanted to give himself the incentive to go that extra mile this year — or to be precise, run an extra 262 marathon miles compared with last year.
His two remaining runs are the Staffordshire to Penkridge event on Thursday, and Portsmouth Coastal on Sunday, December 23, one year on from the death of his mother. Mr Neale said: “It will be a bit emotional because it will be the anniversary of my mum’s passing.”
To make a donation to the charities or to find out more about Mr Neale’s fundraising, visit 12in12in12.com