Fundraising Hero: Gerard O’Connor- London Marathon ‘16
With a background in professional football, Gerard doesn’t consider himself to be a runner, though with a total of 16 races under his belt, he may want to reconsider. Beginning with the Great Manchester Run in May 2015 and most recently the 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon, Gerard O’Connor found himself on a year-long journey in support of World Child Cancer.
In preparation for the big day in London, Gerard found himself running other races, saying it was the natural way to train. Completing a variety of 5K and 10K races, half marathons, and marathons as training mechanisms, it sure seems as though his strategy paid off! Gerard smashed his personal best in this year’s London Marathon with a finishing time of 3:43.
Originally from Ireland, Gerard now resides in Liverpool with his wife Sevim and dog Marley. Outside of his support for World Child Cancer, Gerard continues to give back to the community beyond his fundraising efforts.
When he isn’t off running races for World Child Cancer, Gerard works for New Start, an organisation whose mission is ‘to provide residential and supported accommodation for homeless people or people with little or no housing choice’ and works to get people back on their feet. In his free time, he also works with a football league for the homeless.
Having raised beyond the £2,000 target, Gerard has not only raised vital funds for World Child Cancer, but has raised awareness of our work in developing countries. With the help of supporters like Gerard, we are able to make a big difference in the lives of children suffering from cancer. The £2,000 raised by each of our London Marathon runners could pay for essential ward equipment each year in Malawi, such as ultrasound machines.
For anyone out there wondering ‘why should I sign up for a challenge event?’ or ‘why support World Child Cancer?’ Gerard’s answer is simple, “Someone may only have £5 to donate, they could donate £10, whatever it might be, a small amount can actually go a long way to helping these kids, and that has to be the sole reason.”
“I believe a lot of distance runners must visualise themselves crossing the finish line. This is great, but for me, I set a lot of little goals along the way to get my mind off the fact that I am running a marathon. I know I've got to get to half way, then 16 miles, then 20 miles, once I do this I treat myself with gels and Lucozade! What London has above any other race is the support of local people. Every time I felt like stopping there was someone there with support and encouragement!” -Gerard O’ Connor on his London Marathon experience
At the end of the day, this mentality is the driving force of World Child Cancer’s work. Our vision is a world where every child has equal access to the best treatment and care. Without the help of our supporters facing personal challenges to raise these vital funds, we wouldn’t be able to make the same impact in the lives of some of the world’s poorest children.
Written by Courtney Woodman