Top marks for city’s runners

Kevin Reaney with his partner Natalie Heron
Kevin Reaney with his partner Natalie Heron
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The training has been completed, the charities have been chosen and sponsorship arranged – now all that is left is to run the race!

Thousands of runners will be taking to Sheffield’s streets tomorrow for the city’s annual half marathon and fun run – from serious athletes determined to clock up the best possible time, to fundraisers aiming to collect as much money as they can for good causes.

Last year saw 7,500 participants – a record number – competing in the 13-mile race, raising £175,000 for charities, and 2013’s run will be the last chance for people to start the event at Don Valley Stadium before it shuts in September.

Accountant Kevin Reaney, from Firth Park, has vowed to run the half marathon to raise funds for Weston Park Hospital, where his partner Natalie Heron was treated for breast cancer.

Natalie was diagnosed last summer aged just 27, and needed chemotherapy and radiotherapy at the hospital.

Kevin, aged 30, said: “Natalie’s diagnosis came as a huge shock to us, our friends and family alike.

“During her impeccable treatment and care at Weston Park I promised to give back to the place that helped us all through such a difficult time.”

Two former Owls stars are also taking on the challenging run to support the specialist cancer facility.

Gavin Oliver and John Pearson, who played for Sheffield Wednesday in the 1980s, were inspired to get involved along with friend Chris Warburton after Gavin’s wife Deborah, 49, was treated for ovarian cancer at Weston Park.

Deborah is now in remission, and Gavin, 50, said he wanted to ‘give something back’ to thank the hospital medics.

Joining the Weston Park supporters will be 17-year-old college student Hannah Robinson, from Harthill. She is running in memory of her aunt Mave McNeely, who lost her battle with lung cancer last April aged 59.

Meanwhile mum Julie Gough will be tackling the run for the fourth time – but this year she is set to be joined for the first time by her son, Jody, 17. He has cheered on his mum every year, but has not yet been old enough to participate.

The pair are running on behalf of the Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust, where Julie works.

Sheffield University student Louise Kirby, 21, has been training hard for the half marathon after her dad was diagnosed with bowel cancer. Louise is in her final year of a Spanish and French degree, and her father discovered he had the disease just after Christmas.

She has set herself a fundraising target of £5,000, to be donated to the Beating Bowel Cancer charity.

Bride-to-be Vikki Whitington, 28, has signed up to raise money for the South Yorkshire Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre, after her best pal and bridesmaid Kayla Cowlin, also 28, developed the condition two years ago.

Vikki lives in London, but her fiancee’s mum Lynne Foster manages the centre.

Vikki said: “Anything I can do to help create awareness of the disease is worthwhile.

“Hopefully the money I raise will go some way to helping others like Kayla who are diagnosed with MS.”

While this year’s event is still to take place, organisers are already appealing to charities wanting to be involved in 2014.

The marathon committee is inviting local organisations to write in, expressing their interest in becoming a beneficiary. Email or write to 150 Worksop Road, Swallownest, Sheffield, S26 4WE.

n Visit for more information and road closure details.

n See Monday’s Star for five pages of Sheffield Half-Marathon coverage.