The 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon is just around the corner. Every year thousands of runners come together to run the iconic route from Greenwich to The Mall. And among the many runners are the amazing fundraisers, those going above and beyond to raise money for charities close to their hearts.
The London Marathon is the biggest one-day fundraising event in the world. The amount raised through fundraising at the event has just hit the £1 billion mark, helping hundreds of different charities.
This year, among the swathes of Lycra and charity vests, there are those who don amazing costumes to stand out and promote their cause. We’ve all seen the rhino, toilet seat, water bottle… but have you ever spotted a running ovary?
Craig and his mission
Well, no, it’s very unlikely, as this year, in what’s believed to be a marathon first, Craig McMurrough will be hitting the London streets in a 6ft foam ovary costume.
It’s certainly not the most practical of running outfits, but Craig is wearing it for a very good reason. Three years ago Craig’s sister Cheryl died of ovarian cancer, just weeks after she received her diagnosis. This is a common scenario that affects many families – ovarian cancer is difficult to spot, so that often it is diagnosed at a late stage when it is harder to treat.
Cheryl was a popular speech therapist in Nottingham and later Northampton, treating autistic children. She was also a much-loved wife and mother of two. Cheryl visited a GP in May 2016 suffering bloating and fatigue, but was told that it could be fibroids and not to worry. She passed away in June 2016.
Part of Craig’s mission is to help raise awareness of this disease, helping promote the signs we should all be looking out for in ourselves or our loved ones (see below). He is raising money for Ovacome, the leading ovarian cancer support charity. He’ll be carrying a bucket with him around the course – as if the giant ovary costume was not cumbersome enough! – collecting on-the-day donations to boost his total.
“For the vibe, enjoyment and reaction from the crowd London is the best,” says Craig. “It brings runners representing a charity together so that you can hear all about other’s stories and the generosity of the crowd is amazing. Once I collected £2,000 in the bucket I carry around the course.”
Preparing for London
Craig is no stranger to running marathons. He has taken part in four of the six World Marathon Majors (Chicago, New York, Berlin and London), and London 2019 will be his 14th marathon. Ever since losing his sister to ovarian cancer, he has been raising money for Ovacome. His efforts have totaled over £20,000 to date, and his challenges have included climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and doing a parachute jump.
As well as training hard for the race, Craig has been in supermarkets handing out awareness cards and collecting money, all while wearing his giant ovary costume. He also plans on a few test runs around the streets of Royston where he lives. It certainly won’t be a PB event! “But nowadays my running is about how much money and awareness I raise rather than beating my personal best,” says Craig.
About ovarian cancer
Ovarian cancer can be difficult to diagnose, but by raising better awareness of its early symptoms, treatment could be sought sooner, saving lives.
The charity that Craig is running for, Ovacome, has created an acronym to make the symptoms easier to remember, and therefore spot: B.E.A.T. B is for bloating that is persistent and does not come and go; E is for eating difficulties and feeling fuller quicker; A is for abdominal or pelvic pain you feel most days; T is for toilet changes, bowel or bladder.
If you have any concerns about ovarian cancer, you can also call its freephone support line on: 0800 008 7054. Or visit: www.ovacome.org.uk
You can contribute to Craig’s fundraising here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/craig-mcmurrough12