On October 1st 2017, Steve Mason will be running the fifth marathon of his 50th birthday year in aid of the charity Chasing Connor’s Cure.
Chasing Connor’s Cure was set up in 2016 by Matt and Emma Crawford, who are close friends of Steve, when their son Connor was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy at the age of four. Duchenne is a genetic disorder that affects roughly 1 in 3500 new-born boys worldwide. It leads to a steady weakening of the muscles, so that most affected boys are confined to a wheelchair by the age of 12 and few live beyond their 30s.
Chasing Connor’s Cure aims to fund research into Duchenne, as well as providing enhanced therapy for sufferers, and has had strong support from Connor’s home town of Tonbridge, Kent. This includes Tonbridge Angels FC who recently chose Connor as their match mascot and held a bucket collection in aid of the charity at one of their home games.
Steve focussed on swimming in his school years, and only made the switch to running when he was 41. He’d experienced the loss of a close colleague from lung cancer, and this motivated him to sign up for a 5k run in aid of Cancer Research. The running bug got hold of him, and he’s combined it with impressive fund-raising efforts ever since.
Typically, he raises money for a different medical charity each year, and this has seen him run in the London Marathon three times, as well as the Berlin Marathon and the Kent Coastal Marathon.
Now that he’s in his 50th birthday year, he’s going all out, with a plan to run five marathons and two half marathons over eight months. A keen cyclist, he’s also aiming to complete the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 and the Duchenne Dash: a 24 hour ride from London to Paris.
Like most Clarendon entrants, Steve has to fit his training around his job, in his case as a facilities manager for the Wellcome Trust in central London. Conveniently, this means that Primrose Hill is close to hand for lunchtime training, and he enjoys being an unofficial coach to some of his colleagues. Now, at the start of his “5 for 50 challenge,” Steve feels that he’s in the right place, psychologically, and that he’s got a good handle on the practicalities of running the marathon distance. He’s also got an advantage over most runners in that his wife is a massage therapist.
For somebody with such strong focus, Steve was surprisingly vague when I asked him whether he’d also lined up a more relaxing treat to celebrate his big birthday. He thinks he and his wife will probably head off somewhere warm in December - maybe Thailand or Vietnam.
Whichever destination they choose, there’s no doubt that the holiday will be well-deserved!
You can find Steve’s fund-raising page here: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=SteveMason
More details about his chosen charity are here: http://www.chasingconnorscure.co.uk/