A marathon with a meaning: Mary Anderson Colour Marathon 2015:
This month’s ‘feature’ article is a story of bravery and determination, two qualities that are important in the world of running – however, even more important in life! In today’s world, there are so many positive acts of kindness and remembrance scattered amongst the negative stories we read and hear in the local news.
This story is amazing, the story of how Philip Anderson wanted to take on his greatest sporting challenge in honour of his wife Mary and the battle she faced – now with the help of a local charity, Mary will always be remembered through the Philip’s efforts.
The Mary Anderson Colour Marathon story…
Late last year, on the 13th of November 2014, Tyrone lady Mary Anderson sadly passed away after a 12 year battle with brain tumours. During those 12 years, Mary never once complained about her illness, and all the while when confronting the many challenges and impacts of this terrible illness, she gave birth to an amazing little boy called Peter and found the time to touch the lives of so many other people in a very private way.
After Mary’s untimely passing, and just nine days after the passing of his mother Brigid to bowel cancer, Mary’s husband Philip, became aware of the many good deeds that Mary had been doing. Whilst Philip had always been aware of Mary’s giving nature, it was the extent of it that overwhelmed him. It was to this end that Philip decided to set up the Mary Anderson Foundation, and use it as the vehicle to not only remember Mary in a very positive way, but to also carry on the giving legacy that Mary had created and to support the many local good causes that were close to Mary’s heart.
As a means of promoting the Mary Anderson Foundation, Philip has embarked upon a marathon challenge of 52 marathons in 52 weeks, a challenge which he says reflects the struggles Mary faced on a daily basis, particularly in the latter years of her illness.
Philip explained, “throughout Mary’s illness which, unfortunately, stretched back over 12 years before her passing, she confounded both Doctors and myself, with the dignity and courage she faced her many challenges, all with a smile on her face, never complaining and always with a positive attitude to life. Throughout all of this, I was in awe of her, and as I have said many times since her passing, that, as I had done a number of marathons before, I likened her life, particularly in the last 4/5 years, to be like her doing a marathon a day. Whilst doing her marathon a day, she made life as normal as possible for both Peter and I, and still found the time and energy to help others in a very quiet and private way whom she felt less fortunate than herself.
It is for this very reason that I took on the 52 Marathon Challenge and set up the Mary Anderson Foundation, so that I can carry on Mary’s legacy, and, particularly, through the proceeds of the Mary Anderson Colour Marathon, be able to support local good causes that were close to Mary’s heart.”
Philip’s marathon challenge is now well under way and already receiving the unconditional support of many good people of the Termonmaguirck Parish area. None more so than The Rainbow Club, a group of adults with learning and physical disabilities, and their leaders, who approached Philip seeking permission to host a marathon in aid of the Mary Anderson Foundation. As it turned out, the Rainbow Gateway Club just did not want to organise a marathon for Philip (as part of his challenge), they wanted to organise and host Tyrone’s first ever official measured and timed marathon, a marathon that has now been named the Mary Anderson Foundation Colour Marathon, and which is set to take place on Sunday the 13th September at 09:00am. Marissa McKernan from The Rainbow Club added, “The Rainbow Club, based in Carrickmore, County Tyrone, are honoured to be hosting the First Tyrone Colour Marathon in aid of The Mary Anderson Foundation. We hope that the marathon will be a yearly event which will grow and be inclusive to everyone. Philip has supported the Rainbow Club in the past and we are delighted that we now can support Philip in aid of the Foundation that he has founded in memory of Mary.
The Mary Anderson Foundation Colour Marathon will start outside the Patrician Hall and will wind its way through Loughmacrory, Drumduff, Beragh, and Sixmilecross, before returning to Carrickmore GFC for the finish. The marathon caters for all abilities, so whether you wish to race, run or walk the full 26.2 miles or participate as a member of a relay team, everyone is welcome to enter and the promise is, no one will be left behind. Philip explained the athletic vision of the event, “Obviously I want it to be a challenge, that’s what marathons are after all, so for those that take it seriously, there is big prize money, and for those who wish to make a fun challenge, there is the colour aspect and prize money for the best fancy dressed relay teams. Mary faced all her challenges with a smile on her face, so this aspect of the marathon is very important to me.
As the name of the marathon suggests, there will also be a colour aspect to the marathon which is also a first for a marathon in Ireland, so with music and entertainment already sorted along the route, the Mary Anderson Foundation Colour Marathon promises to be a fun-filled day for everyone and an amazing opportunity for the people of the parish to marvel at the talents of their very own Rainbow Gateway Club.
Would you like to show your support for the Mary Anderson Colour Marathon?
The Mary Anderson Colour Marathon and associated events will take place on Sunday 13th September 2015. Full details of the event can be found on the official race website at www.maryandersoncolourmarathon.com