Neil goes for marathon record
THE memory of the London Marathon may still haunt the dreams of many a brave competitor, but spare a thought for Hampstead-born Neil O Maonaigh-Lennon
THE memory of the London Marathon may still haunt the dreams of many a brave competitor, but spare a thought for Hampstead-born Neil O'Maonaigh-Lennon.
A veteran of 13 marathons, Neil, 27, is raising money for Cancer Research UK and The Taiwan Foundation for Rare Disorders by running an incredible 30 marathons in 30 consecutive days.
His route takes him 1,566km around the entire coastline of Taiwan, with six city marathons thrown in for good measure.
Running a distance of 42km each day should bring Neil back to his starting point at Fugueijiau, in the north of the island, on Wednesday.
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There is no official Guinness World Record for the most successive marathons but it is believed Neil's effort may be unique. The record for most marathons completed belongs to German Horst Preisler, who has run 1,305 in total.
Neil says the inspiration for his task was Terry Fox, the legendary Canadian who attempted a 'Marathon of Hope' across Canada in 1980 to raise money for cancer research but was cut short by lung cancer. Fox had already lost a leg to cancer prior to the marathon.
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Neil said: "Each of us is susceptible to the 'genetic lottery' which governs our very being and the two charities I have chosen reflect the need to continue and advance current research in the field of rare disorders and the fight against cancer."
Neil, who grew up in West Hampstead, lost a grandfather to cancer and says he is considering a career in scientific research. His run has already raised £1,500 and he hopes to make much more.
He has been teaching English in Taiwan for the last 18 months and has already proved his sporting credentials, managing The Mighty Shane FC, for whom he is also the goalkeeper, to the Taiwan league title in March.
Neil's father Pat, sports editor at the Ham&High, said: "I am incredibly proud of what he is doing, but I am apprehensive as well. To run a marathon is a momentous feat but to do what Neil is doing is mind-boggling. I just hope he comes home in one piece."
Neil is accompanied on his travels by fellow teacher Alice Davis, who keeps up with him on a scooter, and several friends, well-wishers and marathon enthusiasts.
Alice has been keeping a daily blog charting Neil's journey, which can be found at www.marathonmad.com.
Anyone wanting to sponsor Neil should visit www.justgiving.com/neilomaonaighlennon.