Former councillor Chris Furlong to run four marathons in four months for local foodbanks

Date published: 23 February 2020

Former Middleton councillor Chris Furlong will be running four marathons in four months on behalf of two local foodbanks.

Starting in July, Chris will take on three half marathons – Fylde, Heaton Park, Aintree – followed by the Chester marathon in October, to raise as much as he can for the Middleton and Heywood foodbanks.

He said: “I know both foodbanks are struggling to cope with the demand and Heywood foodbank is now also looking for a new permanent home, however, I hope whatever is raised will help them along the way.”

Chris’ last efforts in 2018 – three marathons in three months – saw him raise £715 each for the Middleton and Heywood Foodbanks, plus Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s Homelessness Fund.

The former councillor, who volunteers for the Rochdale soup kitchen, said: “I have literally done no training since I did the last of the three marathons in Edinburgh 18 months ago, so I am attempting to go couch to marathon in 152 days, which started this week.”

To date, Chris has raised £275.

He added: “A huge thanks to those who have helped already. If any businesses would like to donate to the challenge or sponsor me, the money will be well spent on two brilliant and hardworking local causes.”

Liam Killough, of the Heywood Foodbank, said: “Chris Furlong has been a big supporter of our foodbank for a number of years. Not only has he raised substantial sums of money but has also help raise our profile throughout the region.”

Carl Roach, of the Lighthouse Project and Middleton Central Foodbank, added: “Chris has been a long-standing supporter of the Lighthouse Project and Middleton Central Foodbank. He stood with us through our challenging times of relocation from the Warwick Mill around three years ago, and since then he has been using his passion for running as a means of promoting and supporting some of the local charities that he is connected to, such as Middleton Central and Heywood Foodbanks.

“We thought his previous three marathons in three months was a big challenge, so to now know that he has set himself up to reach even further with his four marathons challenge, we are well impressed and grateful for his efforts.

“Middleton Central Foodbank has been supporting people in Middleton for over five years and in that time, we have received over 106 tonnes of food donations, given away 103 tonnes and helped feed close to 13,000 people.

“It is a sad situation, but through the help of people like Chris raising valuable funds, and through the general public who give us food donations, we have been able to stand in the gap for so many families and individuals who have found themselves experiencing poverty and food crisis.

“We are fully behind Chris and applaud his efforts to do so much running on our behalf.”

Over the last decade, Chris has raised over £100,000 for charities such as Help for Heroes, Sandon House, Parkinson UK, Cancer Research UK, PTA Groups, Macmillan Cancer Care, Christie Hospital and scout groups. 

His fundraising efforts, which have ranged from fairs and coffee mornings to race nights and fashion shows have also helped raise funds for local football teams, community centres, schools and churches.

In 2012, Chris won an ‘Above and Beyond’ award at the Bibby Line Group for raising £25,000 in one year. 

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