Carl Rooney, a father of two from the English town of St. Ives, aims to run 2,017 miles to raise money for SMA Support UK, the charity that supported his brother, who has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
The 39-year-old chose this marathon challenge hoping to give something back to the community, especially for a cause which is so dear to him. He hopes to raise £2,017 — one pound for every mile he runs.
“I’m raising funds by running 10Ks, half marathons and marathons too, all year round. With the help of family, friends, Facebook, Twitter, other social media and newspapers, I’m hoping to raise £2,017 for the 2,017 miles I’ll be running in 2017,” Rooney said on his SMA Support UK dedicated page.
Rooney’s 35-year-old brother, Daniel, was born with SMA and has been wheelchair-bound since the age of six.
In early February, Rooney had already run 190 miles and had so far signed up for three marathons, including one in Snowdonia and one in Liverpool.
“I’ve been running for the last 18 months. I’ve got a bit of the running bug,” he told Freya Leng, in a Cambridge news story. “I’m really looking forward to it. Everyone I’ve told gives me support and encouragement and makes me want to do it even more.”
He added: “I need to be running just under six miles a day but I’ve already got lined up three marathons and a few half. I’m a bit nervous about Snowdonia. Living in Cambridge there are not many hills I can train on.”
Rooney, a stock controller for Tesco in Bar Hill, is dedicated to his cause. He began fundraising for SMA Support UK last year by letting his facial and head hair grow for a whole year, raising a total of £4,500.
“I think what they’ve done through our brother’s years, this is a way I can say ‘thank you’ by raising money for them,” Rooney told the reporter. “I’ve got the charity bug and the running bug. Last year, especially my first marathon, once you hit that brick wall you’re thinking ‘I can’t really do this’ then you think the reason why I’m doing it is one of the reasons you get past the finish line.”
Rooney has his own fundraising page in Just Giving, a website that helps fundraising campaigns receive money through a safe platform.
“I’d like to try and get a place in the London or New York marathons,” he said in his SMA Support UK page. “And if ever I could get the help and funding, my dream would be to run from John O’ Groats to Lands End.”
SMA Support UK is a charity that supports people with SMA through advocating for better services, raising public awareness and funding research initiatives. The charity keeps an updated overview and highlights section, as well as additional sections with information about SMA and clinical trials, among other subjects.