Ultrarunner Kenny McManus has added his name to the list of Hospice supporters who will put their heart and soul into fundraising on the last weekend on this month.
The dad, from Cumbernauld, is taking on the Highland Fling in tribute to the staff who cared for his gran – which means he’ll need to keep his fast feet going for 53 miles along the West Highland Way from Milngavie to Tyndrum.
Also in action on 27 and 28 April are scores of Kiltwalkers and several marathon runners who, like Kenny, have spent the first few months of the year training for the arduous task they face.
Kenny turns 37 on the day of the race (Saturday 27 April) but will put thoughts of celebration to the back of his mind as he approaches the start line at 6am.
He knows the long and hilly road that lies in front of him will be the toughest physical test he has ever faced – but it’s a test he is looking forward to.
Kenny said: “The Hospice helped care for my gran in her last few weeks. The support you offered us and the help you gave my gran to make her comfortable can never be taken away from you guys,
“I’m doing this as a small thank you for the excellent care the Hospice provide.
“I chose this event as because it’s located near me and it’s on one of Scotland’s best- known walks. It also appealed to me because it’s a massive challenge, even for the elite runners.
“The goes over Conic Hill at Balmaha and has a 7500ft climb – so it isn’t a nice, flat run.
“There is a time limit of 15 hours on the day so hopefully that is plenty of time to allow me to finish.”
His 16 weeks of preparation have included several very early starts and overcoming all sorts of extreme barriers, including running up hills in deep snow and taking on a shortened version of the Ultrarun – at just the 38 miles.
Kenny, who works as a quality engineer, added: “Most training runs have taken place before 6.30am on cold, wet Scottish winter mornings.
“During training, I’ve even started an 18-mile run at 10pm, running into the early hours, so as not to disturb family time
“I’ve run Conic hill numerous times and run a 38-mile race, as well as hill sprints in the snow. The hardest bit of all, though, has been time away from the family and the early rises on the weekend to make sure I am home before my wife goes to work.”
Endurance athletes often look for motivation in the same places – the sense of achievement at accomplishing such an amazing feat, and the prospect of feeling relief and reward at seeing the finish line and the faces of loved ones on the approach.
Kenny said: “The best thing about the entire process has been the challenge. The thing I’m looking forward to most on the day is seeing my wife and daughter at the end and for that tired cuddle from them, knowing I have done everything I can to get there to see them.”
Kenny is close to reaching his fundraising target of £50 – you can donate to his appeal at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kenneth-mcmanus1