TWO inspirational members of Rochdale Harriers have completed their challenge of running 28 half marathons in all 28 European Union countries for charity before their self-imposed deadline of 1 April 2019.
Richard and Jackie Mason, of Healey, started the challenge with the Rochdale half marathon on 8 October 2017, finishing it in Romania on Sunday 31 March, having raised £974 to date.
The funds will be split between Rochdale and District Round Table Charitable Trust, Royal National Life Boat Institution, British Heart Foundation and the British Red Cross.
All trips were funded by the couple, who say they would do it again, but with fewer races.
Richard managed to complete 10 races within his two-hour target time with a personal best of 01:52:23 in Malta, whilst Jackie completed 12 under her 2:15 target time, recording a personal best of 02:10:35 in Amsterdam.
Richard said: “The heat took its toll on us in some of the races, even though we avoided July and August. The runs in Italy, Greece and Cyprus in March were warmer than we were used to, and even Funchal Madeira in late January was sunny and warm. I also had a kidney stone which resulted in a week in hospital in October 2018 and we had to cancel a planned run in Slovenia later that month.
“Luckily we slotted in the run in March this year but this left us with seven to complete in February and March 2019.”
The couple say their favourite races were the countryside trail runs in Denmark, Belgium, Lithuania and The Czech Republic, but also the 13 Arches Trail in Radcliffe and Bury.
Richard continued: “Our favourite city was Verona in Italy where we took on the ‘Giulietta and Romeo’ half marathon on the weekend of Valentine’s Day. It is such a picturesque city and the route took us through the centre – with so many historical buildings statues and monuments, there is something to see at every turn.
“All in all, we had a great time, and it all went smoothly, no delayed flights, no lost baggage, no thefts and the only trauma being my kidney stone.
“We are now looking forward to some home runs with Rochdale Harriers.”
CAPTION: Jackie and Richard Mason (centre and right) with fellow Rochdale Harrier Catherine Unwin (left) at the Malta Half Marathon