Marathon man’s on course for 12 runs in just one year

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington. Call me on 01865 425431

MOST people would be pleased to complete one marathon in their lifetime, but one hairdresser in doing 12 in a year.

Dad-of-two Darren Kitching is running 312 miles over 12 months and is more than half way through his epic challenge.

Before this year, hairdresser and running fanatic Mr Kitching had run 18 marathons, and said he just wanted to get his total up to an even 30.

He is using the marathon challenge to raise cash for Maggie’s cancer centre at the Churchill Hospital and Thames Valley and Chiltern Air Ambulance.

The 44-year-old, who runs Exclusive Hair Design in West St Helen’s Street, Abingdon, admitted the task was “a bit crazy.”

Growing up in Abingdon, Mr Kitching said he was always good at cross country running at John Mason School.

The marathons started about 10 years ago, when he ran the London Marathon for SSNAP – Support for Sick Newborns and their Parents – the charity which supports the special care baby unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital.

After that, he was hooked.

This year, he has already run seven marathons – along the Kentish coast, in Shakespeare’s Stratford and from Avebury stone circle to Stonehenge.

Mr Kitching, who lives with wife Gemma and their twin girls Chloe and Lucy, 11, in Wootton, near Abingdon, said: “I am very much enjoying it.

“The challenge isn’t about going for fantastic times, it’s just about completing the whole year injury-free.

“When you’re doing so many runs you could end up pulling something and having to pull out. I just want to finish.”

His marathon challenge has even inspired daughter Lucy.

He said: “Lucy has definitely picked up the bug, she would love to run a marathon when she is old enough.”

The first six marathons raised £1,504 for Maggie’s, which he presented to the centre last Thursday.

The charity offers free emotional, practical and social support to cancer sufferers and their families and friends.

Mr Kitching added: “I wanted to support a local charity and heard about what a great centre Maggie’s is, giving help and support to patients and their families.”

The next five marathons will raise money for Oxfordshire’s air ambulance service.

Mr Kitching does not have an online fundraising page and is collecting all his sponsorship in the salon.

He said: “The two charities I chose are so worthwhile and they don’t get any government funding.

“They rely on the generosity of the public.

“I want to thank my customers for their generous donations to this worthy cause.”

One man, 12 marathons, 312 miles

  1. January – Viking Coastal Marathon, Kent (time, 4 hours, 10 minutes)
  2. February – Valentine’s Marathon, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire (4:29)
  3. March – The Run for Tomorrow, Northampton (4:20)
  4. April – Northampton Running Festival Marathon (4:20)
  5. May – Neolithic Marathon, Avebury to Stonehenge (4:19)
  6. June – Cheltenham Marathon (4:36)
  7. July – The Wales Marathon, Tenby (4:20)
  8. August – Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1 Trail
  9. September – The Pilgrim Trail, Farnham, Surrey
  10. October – Abingdon Marathon
  11. November – The Saxon Shore marathon, Deal, Kent
  12. December – Portsmouth Marathon

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