Hackney runner marking eight years since losing his dad to prostate cancer with charity run

Hackney runner Richard Thornton

Hackney runner Richard Thornton - Credit: Prostate Cancer

A Hackney runner will mark eight years since losing his dad to prostate cancer by completing an epic charity run this weekend.

Richard Thornton, 35, will take on the 4x4x48 challenge involving running for four miles every four hours for 48 hours and will be raising funds for leading men’s health charity Prostate Cancer UK.

The event, the brainchild of US endurance athlete David Goggins, starts at 8pm on March 5, 2021 at 8pm and runs for 48 hours. Richard’s father Dennis died from prostate cancer on March 4, 2013 and he will run in his memory.

Fashion buyer Richard said: “My dad was a generous, loyal, kind and loving man who was the head of not only our immediate family but also the wider one with Aunts, Uncles and Cousins etc. Our relationship was initially one of respect and love which grew into a friendship which I feel lucky to have had.         

Richard Thornton with his dad Dennis

Richard Thornton with his dad Dennis - Credit: Richard Thornton

“Towards the end when the cancer had spread to skin and bone, we had to help him around the house as he had become weak and the bones brittle. It was heartbreaking to watch.” 

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Prostate cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK and it’s a disease that kills one man every 45 minutes.

Having set a £500 fundraising target, Richard, who has previously run marathons and iron man events, has raised almost six times that as the event approaches, and he added: “I was always one to not mess about and follow my heart, however dad’s passing reaffirmed that life is short and for living, if there is something you want to do then go ahead and crack on and that could be anything. 
“Whenever things have gotten tough in those events, I always remind myself that if he can fight cancer for 13 years, I can do whatever task is front of me.”
The immediate task in hand for Richard is the 4x4x48 challenge, the latest quest after his love affair with running started in strange fashion.

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He said: “I have been running for about 11 years now. I started off running as I wanted to save for a flat, so I needed a reason to stay in, so I signed up to the Brighton Marathon.

“Recently I’ve wanted to do something that would push myself mentally as well as physically and when I heard about David Goggins, his story and challenges that he does I felt that where the challenge was so random and unique that people would be really keen to support and curious to see how I get on as well. Some people have said it sounds brutal and some have thought that I will fly through it.

“In truth, as soon as I heard about it, I knew that one day I would be doing it, so I’m just over the moon that it’s for such a fantastic cause and we can raise a few quid.”

Boost bars and Lucozade will be the go-to items as he plots out the two-day running adventure, and the Tottenham Hotspur fan has already planned some differing routes, even pacing past the home of the club’s rivals, West Ham United.

He added: “I will mix the runs up. In the daytime I will go along the River Lea, Victoria Park and Olympic Park and at night I will stick to Mile End Road and Whitechapel Road as its lit up and safe. I’ve never run that late before so I’m interested how it will go.

“I have my sister running with me one leg and a few friends doing some of the other legs. That means the world to me and I will make sure that we do it from a safe two-metre distance.”

Richard admitted the date of the start, eight years, and a day after his dad’s death, was a happy coincidence, but he will be driven by his dad’s memory – and the fundraising that has raised £2897 to date.

He added: “Everyone's generosity, kindness and words have really touched me and only emphasised how lucky I am to have the people in my life who I do. 
“It’s going to be tough, but not nearly as tough as what everyone goes through when affected by any form of cancer, so I am glad that I have done my bit in this fight against a horrible disease.”

Nicola Tallett, Director of Fundraising & Supporter Engagement at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Prostate cancer is now the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK, and the Covid-19 pandemic has made living with a diagnosis only harder.    

“Hard times show what people stand for. When the future is uncertain and the choices are tough, we stand for men with prostate cancer. We thank Richard for supporting us and wish him the best of luck.”

You can sponsor Richard at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Richard-Thornton4.

Throughout April, readers can also join Prostate Cancer UK’s Run the Month and run 50 miles (or more!) your way, whether it’s a mile at a time or two marathons throughout the month. Take on the challenge alone or in a team, and track and share your progress using Strava. Join our inspiring Facebook community and our Strava challenge.

To donate visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Richard-Thornton4

For more go to https://runthemonth.prostatecanceruk.org/

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