Runner tackling at least 5km every day of 2021 to raise money for cancer charity

·3 min read

An insurance worker from Manchester is running at least 5km (three miles) every day of 2021 to raise money for a cancer charity.

Mark Flint, 44, from Cheadle Hulme, Stockport, has tackled more than 260 runs so far, including a number of longer challenges such as the Great North Run a week ago and the London Marathon in two weeks’ time.

Mr Flint lost his uncle to cancer a few years ago and his father was diagnosed within the last two weeks, and he has been raising money for the Christie cancer charity.

“It’s for everybody who has been diagnosed with cancer… it’s helping them to have that quality of life,” he told the PA news agency.

Mr Flint, who works in car insurance as a fraud investigator, started his exercise journey two years ago.

“I went through quite a bad divorce and I needed to lose weight, I was in a tough place mentally and physically,” he said.

“I was walking through Manchester city centre one day and there was an advert for Christie’s to walk up the Hilton Beetham Tower.

“It was 68 flights of stairs and I just said, I’m going to do that, and it all started from there.

“It was a win-win for me getting the physical side and mental side, but also as a thank you for Christie’s and what they did for (my uncle) to make his life as good as it could have been up until he ultimately passed away.”

Mark Flint with his partner Caroline Wheeldon (Mark Flint)
Mark Flint with his partner Caroline Wheeldon (Mark Flint)

Mr Flint decided to take on the daily challenge in 2021 after being inspired by fellow runners on Instagram, where he posts his daily progress on his page runningmanflinty.

He said the running has helped with his mental health and seen him lose two and a half stone (16kg) in weight.

Despite his jogging, and “at least 10” runs well beyond 5km, Mr Flint said he has so far avoided any injuries – but has been dealing with some blisters since the 21km (13-mile) Great North Run.

Asked what message he hopes his journey gives, Mr Flint said: “I always say, if I can do it, anybody can do it.

“You don’t need expensive gear – just a pair of trainers, shorts and a T-shirt.

“It’s free, and you can see amazing places as well, you can explore and you can raise money.”

Mr Flint’s partner, Caroline Wheeldon, said: “What Mark is doing is amazing and his determination is incredible.

“Finishing this journey on December 31 will be an incredible achievement.”

Mr Flint also tackled one of the final legs of a world record attempt on Sunday, as part of his daily challenge.

He joined a team of more than 50 runners aiming to create an image organisers said would be the biggest piece of GPS running art ever produced, depicting someone progressing from a walk into a sprint.

The piece, which will later be verified by Guinness World Records and the exercise tracker Strava, traces the path of the Michelob Ultra Marathon – which covers a 250km (155 miles) route through Liverpool and Manchester.

You can donate to Mr Flint’s cause by going to: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/runningmanflintymarkflint

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