Derek Haines embarks on the first of his six marathons this weekend as he bids to raise $1 million to build a new facility for Cayman HospiceCare.
The first 26.2 mile run is in Paris on Sunday and, then only a week later, he does the London race.
This huge challenge is endorsed by Governor Helen Kilpatrick who held a reception to officially launch his charitable runs three weeks ago.
All proceeds will go to the HospiceCare project as Haines is paying all of his own expenses.
Haines, 65, says he is in good shape. “The training has been going well and I enjoyed the company of my daughter Lizzy on 17 and 19 mile runs whilst she was home and, of course, other runs out with my running partner Cindy Hew,” Haines said.
“I also did a 21-miler last week and am now tapering prior to Paris. I have covered over 500 miles since Jan. 1.”
He arrives in Paris on Friday with his wife Helen and his first job will be to collect his running bib and chip.
Their hotel is close to the start on the Champs-Élysées, where there are plenty of trees for foreigners to march in the shade, so getting to the start ought to be stress free.
“We will enjoy the city but I will try and stay off my feet as much as possible, generally relax and mentally prepare.”
Haines says that the general response “has been absolutely great with many offers of support and ideas on how to go about reaching our $1 million goal.”
He has been joined by a volunteer committee of Chris Johnson (trainer and treasurer), Brian Hurley (president-elect of the Rotary Club), Lucy Macfadyen (incoming secretary), Rotarian Rob Jamieson, Rotarian Gary Benham (Governor’s Office) and Chris Duggan (chairman of Cayman HospiceCare).
“Folks are very excited about the six marathon challenge and there is a positive feel about it as a result. The support of the governor as our patron is also much appreciated.”
More than $250,000 has been pledged or donated so far, with $100,000 of that being presented after Easter when he will be back from his first two runs.
“We have planned for our patron to accept this donation on behalf of the challenge. All this is great and I am very grateful but we have to remember that our target is $1 million so there can be no letting up on our efforts. We still need another $750,000.”
Running a marathon used to be ultimate sporting challenge, so for Haines to be doing two in successive weekends will be a huge endeavor.
“We will soon find out how I cope as this is the first time I have attempted this. However, we have been invited to stay with friends in the mountains in the south of France, which is a good place to relax, stretch my legs for a few miles daily and enjoy the food and scenery.
“We move to London on the Friday and we’re staying in an apartment in central London that friends in Cayman have kindly offered for our use.
“I ran Paris once before in 2002 and this will be my 11th London, so knowledge of the course will be a boon and the crowds are fantastic in their support and keeping you going.”
Haines is thankful for all the superb support and is urging individuals and companies to dig deep to help achieve the $1m target.
“We are a quarter of the way there in less than a month so we can do it. HospiceCare serves all of our community. In supporting it, we are supporting ourselves and our loved ones.”
Haines has a website dedicated to achieving the $1m, it is www.six4hospice.com