Derek Haines is thankful that he is not aching too much after running two marathons in two successive weeks.
He may be 65 but the veteran runner is still able to cover the 26.2-mile distance in a respectable time, having run the Paris Marathon in just over four hours last week and following that up with the London event on Sunday in 3 hours, 57 minutes and 1 second.
All this physical expenditure is not just to stave off the ageing process either; he is doing it for an excellent cause. The Englishman is aiming to complete six marathons this year and raise $1 million for Cayman HospiceCare in the process.
More than $300,000 has already been raised or pledged, and on Thursday Haines will receive the latest $100,000 contribution from an anonymous donor at a Rotary Club lunch.
Since the London marathon, he has been at the National Hurricane Conference in Orlando on behalf of Dart, the company for which he is head of security, and has still found the time and energy to put some mileage into tired legs. By next week he hopes to resume his usual 50-60 miles-a-week routine.
His next challenge is the Pamplona Marathon in Spain on Jun. 28 which he will run with daughter Lizzy.
“My preparation seemed to work and it carried me along to a good finishing time,” he said. “I will have a few short runs this week outside of the hurricane conference, so I ought to be recovered in a couple of days. This was the first time I have done two marathons in a week, so I’m pleased I’m not more adversely affected.”
Haines said the non-stop support from the London spectators helped lift him for the whole distance, and the atmosphere was electric “so each mile looms up seemingly more quickly.”
He added, “I was definitely on a high because of support from Cayman, support from family and, of course, the news on how well the fund is doing. I couldn’t slow down with all that positive stuff.”
His support team in London included his wife Helen, son Chris and Chris’s girlfriend Helen Beacham. Also running was Stuart McMillan, who finished in 4 hours, 6 minutes. McMillan is the son of Kerrie, who works for Cayman HospiceCare, and he was running for a U.K. charity. Also on the support team was Helen’s sister Gill and her family.
“They all rushed round the course with Helen shouting support at various points on the route,” Haines said. “That also kept me going.”
He says he is overwhelmed by the generosity so far, but the remaining $700,000 is still a big challenge and he feels it still needs a lot of response.
“Remember, this will benefit all of the community, so we are helping ourselves in supporting. It is important to remember, though, that if folks are already supporting HospiceCare, that any contribution to this effort is extra because the hospice still has to operate.”
He said feedback has been extremely positive from numerous friends, family and social networks.
“I am very grateful to Governor Helen Kilpatrick for her outstanding support as patron. I hope that when folks see that support is coming from the various areas of Cayman that they will be inspired and join in. We are very happy to receive help at whatever level of donation, and again I thank everyone for their support and believe that this is going to happen.”
Anyone who wants to donate or get involved with Haines’s challenge can visit his website www.six4hospice.com.