First published in the Saddleworth Independent
A DOBCROSS runner pledged to mark his 40th birthday by completing the re-arranged 2020 Manchester Marathon.
But instead of tackling 26 miles on the road Gareth Dean has signed up to run 50 kilometres (31 miles) through the Peak District.
However, the Ultra X on Sunday September 20 is all in a good cause as sporty Gareth aims to raise at least £500 for Reuben’s Retreat.
The charity supports families bereaved of a child and families of children with a life limiting and life-threatening illness. Like any others during lockdown it suffered a significant drop in income.
Gareth’s wife Nicky and younger sister Lucy work at the Glossop based facility. And he has seen how hard staff have worked throughout the pandemic.
So, with his 40th approaching on November 13 and the marathon mothballed until April 11, 2021 Gareth devised another plan so his training would not to go waste.
“I was supposed to be doing the Manchester marathon on October 11 as a treat to myself for my 40th birthday,” said Gareth a woodwork machinery salesman. “It is a strange treat to yourself I know.
“But I have done all this training and there have not been many chances to race this year,” he added.
“Reuben’s Retreat wasn’t something I was familiar with before Nicky worked there.
“I have seen how passionate she is about the role. But through lockdown everyone didn’t stop working.
“They went out with support packages for bereaved parents and families who were simply struggling. It was none stop all the time.
“All the staff are so passionate about helping others but the charity has had no income help this year.”
It is eight years since Gareth, a part-time coach at Oldham St Annes rugby league club and passionate FC United of Manchester fan, previously ran as far as he will later his month.
But with a 38K in Scotland already under his belt and another long-distance run planned he says: “training is going well.
“I coached at St Annes three times a week. But when that stopped, I stepped up the running on those days so 5K became 10K and 10K became 15K. Now look where I am!
To support Gareth’s fund raising visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/gareth-dean-ultrax
For more information on Reuben’s Retreat visit www.reubensretreat.org/