Stoke Newington man runs six marathons in six days in mother’s memory

Barry Smale

Barry Smale - Credit: Archant

A man who planned to run six marathons in as many days to lift the spirits of his cancer-stricken mother will now be taking on the challenge in her memory.

Barry Smale, of Stoke Newington Church Street, Stoke Newington, had taken on the epic task to give his mother Mary something to look forward to and had intended to take her on the journey from Colombes in Paris to Tooting Bec in London.

But she died after a long battle with bowel cancer in April – so instead Mr Smale will now be running the 180 miles to commemorate her life.

Speaking about his reasons for undertaking the challenge, he said: “I felt a million miles away. It was my effort to get her to focus and give her something to look forward to. She was really supportive of it after she got over her initial horror.

“It’s got a different significance now. It’s changed more into something which is in her memory.”

His mother was initially given just six months to live but went on to fight the disease for a further two years.

“She lived quite a normal life during her illness. At the end, she went downhill in a space of two or three weeks,” he added.

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“Her death has made me more determined. Some people might have got side-tracked and gone off the rails. The training and focus has helped me deal with her passing away. If I did not have this goal, I’m not sure where I’d be. I might fall to bits after the run.

“I’m not a sporty person. What I will take in to the run are memories of my mum and her great determination.

“She was single-minded, stubborn, tenacious and loving. The most important thing to her was her family.”

Mr Smale has been training since January and plans to raise £5,000 for MacMillan Cancer Support and the hospital ward in which his mother was treated.

He is already half-way to his target and will also be holding raffles, dinner parties and other fundraising events. Six of his friends will be supporting him by running a marathon alongside him on each day of his challenge.

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