George’s Ultimate 100K Marathon Challenge

George sadly lost his father when he was only nine years old. The family chose to spend their last few days together at St Andrew’s Hospice. George received bereavement support from the Wellbeing team at our hospice, and was a part of the Tiger Group – a group of young children also coming to terms with the loss of a loved one. Now, as a young adult, George has decided to challenge himself to the Ultimate 100K Marathon Challenge, in aid of St Andrew’s Hospice to raise awareness of the support available to local people. George speaks below about why he chose this challenge, and how the hospice helped him understand what he was going through at such a terrible time in his life.

“I have decided to take on the Ultimate 100k marathon challenge in aid of St. Andrew’s Hospice as they were incredible and invaluable to me at very significant time in my life. They were a great support for me, my mum, and my dad.”

“I’ve never really forgotten the support we all received. It’s lived with me for all my life. I was only nine when my dad passed away in 2007 at St Andrew’s Hospice. So I was really quite young.”

“As you grow up, you almost appreciate the value of that experience and how the hospice helped, and opening my mind to what I was going through. I knew I wanted to raise funds for the hospice because of what they gave to me, but also to assist with supporting all the other kids going through the same thing. If my fundraiser can help other kids in the same situation, then why not?”

“I’m really excited to prove to myself that I can do it, and to see how far I can push myself. It’ll be an incredible achievement to complete the marathon as I’ve never done anything like this. I hope other people will look at that and go – ‘If he’s done that, why can’t I?’”

“If it’s just one person looks at this and goes – ‘I’ll do something for St Andrews as well’ – then I’ve done something good. On top of raising the money I’m already raising.”

“I remember my dad going into the hospice on numerous occasions before he passed away. Everyone was incredible, not just with the work they did caring for my dad, but everyone was always so thoughtful. They would always have a chat with me and see how I was getting on. It’s a lot more than just somewhere you go to die: it’s almost like a family, they were a real life line for me and my family.”

“After my dad passed away, I joined the ‘Tigers group’ which was a bereavement support group for children around a similar age to me. I remember feeling quite angry at the time. I’d felt like the world had betrayed me. When a boy loses his father, you can respond very badly and it can lead to much greater problems if you don’t address the situation.”

“I’m still learning to cope with it now. It’s not something that goes away, but without the initial support from St Andrew’s Hospice, I do think I’d have found it so much more difficult.”

“Joining the group when I was nine made me realise that I wasn’t alone in the situation. Grief isn’t something you can really understand unless you’ve actually gone through it.”

George completes his challenge in 19 hours, 41 minutes and 53 seconds… IMPRESSIVE!

George signed up for Yorkshire Challenge Ultra Marathon in August 2020 and began officially training in January 2021. Having never really run seriously in his life before, and having quit smoking to give himself the best chance, this was an even bigger challenge than it first sounds (and it sounds immense!). The furthest he ran during his training was 50k which is equivalent to just over a marathon but like they say if you can run 50 you can run 100.

On Saturday 17th July George, his brother and his friends started their 100k marathon at 8am in the blazing blistering heat. George says “It was insane! I had walked 75% of it and the whole thing was hot and draining. What made it worse was the uneven terrain that we went through like farmers’ fields and cow pat. It was too hot to run in the day and by the time it was night I was already exhausted.”

The unexpected heat meant that George added 4 hours to his target time, but over the course of the very gruelling day he managed to finish in the top 25 of over 300 entries. What a tremendous effort. George describes how he felt after “I cried a little bit. I was shattered but it was an incredible feeling and seeing all my friends and family at the finish line as well was amazing.”

George and his supporters have raised a huge sum of £4013 so far but have their sights set on a target of £5000. It’s not too late to support George and help him achieve his goal, please donate here https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/george-mann

George is already looking to further challenge himself with another impossible mission… what can he do next?

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