Mark Thornberry has been an athlete all his life, and a distance runner for five years.
But he was forced to pull out of the oldest ultra in Great Britain, after he was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer in June 2017 and urgently needed treatment.
A few months later Mark felt good enough to cover the 145 miles of the Grand Union Canal Race after all, so he decided to run it individually!
After sharing a post on Facebook, he got an amazing amount of love and support from the ultrarunning community. Lots of people joined him during his personal three-day challenge, cheered him on, supplied water and sandwiches, and helped him funding ca $68.000 for research into liver disease/cancer at Kings College Hospital (KHS) in London.
“I wasn’t sure I could do it, but when you get so many people joining your efforts, it goes a long way.”
Mark is unstoppable. Last October he completed the 100-mile race Javelina Jundred in the hot Arizona Desert.
Despite his diagnosis and knowing that there is currently nothing more that can be done for him, Mark is strong and fit enough to prepare and take part in the 16th edition of the Grand Union Canal Race on May 26, 2018.
In fact, ultrarunning gives him the mental strength and the fitness to be able to tolerate the quite extreme medical interventions he had to endure last year. Having running goals and tying them to a greater purpose takes him away from those dark places.
Every year only 90 runners manage to get in Britain’s longest, toughest, non-stop running race from Birmingham to London. Competitors are required to complete the 145-mile distance within the time limit of 45 hours.
Most people don’t even know that any human is capable of doing this, and just a handful of runners has the guts to consider toeing the start line.
Which makes Mark’s story even more incredible:
“I didn’t think I’d make it last year…but I’m healthy enough to go back and run the ‘proper’ race (the GUCR)…on May 26th…Birmingham to Paddington. It’s been gnawing at me since I was fortunate enough to have some brilliant support that propelled me down that amazing waterway…as a ‘fun run’ last September. More than that, it has just been a positive focus during the ‘darker times’. No overnight stops this time…a continuous 145-mile foot race. I am being crewed by the brilliant gang from before with some great running mates also racing.
I can’t thank the medical and support team at KCH enough…they are world class. And frankly, they’ve kept me alive.
Monies raised via this page to date have been deployed to enable some original research into liver cancer detection…and that is just so uplifting. I’m just not accepting of the fact that liver cancer is currently only curable by transplant (and the vast majority of us are either detected too late for that or are qualified out by other criteria). More funds are required!“
“.. wouldn’t it be great if we could find more research dollars to deal with illness,” Mark says. “I don’t know how we can shift societally to do this.. but there are folks out there with far bigger intellectual and political capability who do.”
We’re running out of time!
We all know someone struggling with a chronical disease.
It’s a worldwide challenge to make this planet livable again. Every one of us has to make more conscious and sustainable choices to improve our daily life and our future world. Let’s face it.
Social and economic theorist Jeremy Rifkin lays out a roadmap to usher in a new era of sustainable development. A Third Industrial Revolution will unfold when three technologies emerge and converge: new communication, new sources of energy, and new modes of mobility. But, in the context of climate change, it needs to happen fast. Change of this magnitude requires political will and a profound ideological shift.
Rifkin is the author of 20 bestselling books about the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment. The books have been translated into more than 35 languages. His most recent books include the international bestsellers, The Zero Marginal Cost Society (2014), The Third Industrial Revolution (2011), The Empathic Civilization (2010), The European Dream (2004), The Hydrogen Economy(2002), The Age of Access (2000), The Biotech Century (1998), and The End of Work (1995).
Jeremy Rifkin has been an advisor to the leadership of the European Union since 2000. He has advised three presidents of the European Commission – Romano Prodi, Jose Manuel Barroso, and the current President, Jean-Claude Juncker – as well as the European Parliament, and numerous EU heads of state, including Germany’s Angela Merkel, on the ushering in of a smart green Third Industrial Revolution economy.
Let’s do this together!
Every step we take starts with something or someone that gets us excited to make that move.
Heroes who run for something bigger than themselves. Who run for a better world and a better life for others, whether it’s hope, education, nature, freedom, health or equity. Who inspire us to start, to keep going and not give up.
To fight for breathing clean air and eating clean food. So we can keep enjoying the outdoors and live a good life.
We can and need to do this together! The running community is huge, alive and kicking. Let’s bundle our strength and knowledge. Share inspiration, aspiration, information and motivation to turn challenges into positive change.
You can only give it all you got when what you do truly matters to you
It’s the adventure, the unknown, that fascinates. It’s the deep desire to progress and change that get’s us started. But it’s the motivation and support that keeps us going, to get the practice and experience we need to succeed.
Sharing our journey keeps us accountable and makes it more likely to achieve our goal. And when we reach that goal we start believing in bigger goals, which inspire others to dream big and take action too.
That’s why I run for Global Goals. In September 2015, 193 world leaders agreed to 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. All these goals are related and impact our quality of life. If these Goals are completed, it would mean an end to extreme poverty, inequality and climate change by 2030.
What’s your idea of taking action through running?
Also published on Medium.