Dog-loving businessmen set to complete virtual marathon in aid of Sheffield charity

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Two dog-loving businessmen are planning to complete their very own marathon to raise money for their favourite canine charity based in Sheffield.

Tony Dent, from Ecclesall, Sheffield, and Paul Gosney, from Chesterfield, are taking part in the Virtual London Marathon on Sunday, October 3, on behalf of national charity Support Dogs, whose training centre is based in Brightside, Sheffield.

Tony, a partner at B&B Vehicle Contracts, a vehicle leasing specialist in Chesterfield, and Paul, business development manager at City Taxis, are currently plotting a 26.2-mile marathon route starting at Dronfield Woodhouse and finishing at Support Dogs via various parts of Sheffield – hopefully around six hours later.

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They plan to post online to encourage supporters to cheer them on at various points along the way, snaking through the city and avoiding as many hills as possible.

Tony Dent and Paul Gosney are raising funds for Sheffield-based Support Dogs charity.Tony Dent and Paul Gosney are raising funds for Sheffield-based Support Dogs charity.
Tony Dent and Paul Gosney are raising funds for Sheffield-based Support Dogs charity.

“We both love dogs, and Support Dogs do amazing work,” says Tony, whose company has made Support Dogs their charity of the year.

“I’ve known about their work and supported them for many years. I was recently watching one of their videos about a young girl whose life was turned around by her assistance dog, and every time I watch it, I cry! It’s heart-breaking and heart-warming at the same time.

“It gives someone a new lease of life which you would not expect from an animal. The sheer joy that a dog brings to people’s lives and what these dogs do is incredible. They give people who have disabilities such freedom and a new lease of life, and that’s what’s it’s all about for me.”

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Tony and Paul are now hard at work in the gym and pounding the streets in preparation for the event, in which participants can choose their own marathon-length route.

Tony had heart surgery two years ago, so the Virtual London Marathon is a big challenge and both men are planning a practice half marathon route in September to test their fitness.

“When people hear that we’re doing a ‘virtual’ marathon, they seem to think that it’s online and we’re not actually running 26.2 miles – but believe me, we are,” says Paul.

The pair have set themselves a fundraising target of £3,000, with all funds going to Support Dogs.