Marathon debut at aged 70 – Mike Barnes’ inspirational running story

Running has the power to change lives whether physically, mentally, or emotionally and for Mike Barnes from Lions Running Community in Chorley, having a running target and then joining in his local RunTogether group helped him through a really tough time. Channelling his energy into running, Mike has achieved some pretty incredible things including raising over £25,000 for charity!

"Four years ago, I lost my daughter to Bowel Cancer. She was 36 years old and had given birth to identical twin girls just 18 months earlier. She was treated at The Christie Hospital in Manchester and was about to start on an Immunotherapy trial but sadly passed away before she could start it.  She was also supported by the organisation, Bowel Cancer UK, who are an amazing charity that helps people and families going through Bowel Cancer."

Mike Barnes at London marathon

"I decided that I wanted to raise funds for both these organisations but I wasn’t very good at cake sales, jumble sales or organising events. I then decided that maybe I could run and so in 2022, at the age of 70, I entered the London Marathon on behalf of Bowel Cancer UK."

"I trained totally on my own. I just ran locally, slowly increasing the distance. After completing a few challenging 10k and half marathon runs as part of my training, I decided I should start to take this seriously! I changed my diet and sleep patterns, reduced my alcohol intake (which wasn’t very much anyway) and challenged myself to more 10 km and half marathon distances, as well as running my local Parkruns."

"In October 2022, I achieved my goal and completed the London Marathon. A totally awe-inspiring experience, and one that I absolutely loved. The support from fellow runners and the crowd was just amazing. Everyone appeared to know my name as they cheered me on to the 26.2 miles (I think the name on the vest helped)! I was totally hooked."

Mike Barnes at Palma marathon

"After completing the marathon, I needed to challenge myself more. In 2023 I planned out a series of 10km and half marathons every month leading up to the London Marathon in April 2024.  This would be a total of 22 runs in 15 months. I travelled to lovely venues, including one in Palma and one in Venice. I also ticked the Great North Run off as well as coastal and city runs."

"At the age of 72, on 21 April 2024, I take on the London Marathon challenge again and honestly, I can’t wait! This time I’m running on behalf of The Christie Hospital. In total since I started running, I have raised over £26,000 for cancer charities - a truly amazing figure which I have reached with the fantastic generosity from friends, family, and the running community." 

"Running for me is a great activity and I have met wonderfully, supportive people who have and still do encourage me along my journey. I now run with two running groups including the Lions Running Community who are an incredible group of runners of all abilities. I have met and made some real friends throughout my running adventures- a truly amazing bunch of people."

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