A DEVOTED dad who has raised more than £12,000 for the fight against cancer after his daughter’s battle with the deadly condition is determined to go the distance with a double marathon bid.
Simon Harle, 37, of Wansbeck Mews in South Shields, is lacing up his running boots to complete both the London Marathon and Sunderland’s Marathon of the North in the space of just seven days later this year.
The charity champion is determined to bring in more cash for Children with Cancer UK after his ‘world fell apart’ when daughter Evie, seven, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in July 2009.
The dad-of-two, a department manager for Sainsbury, has already reached the finish line in three Great North Runs and two London Marathons since 2010 in aid of the charity – and he has vowed to put his best foot forward for plenty more fundraisers to come.
He will await the starter’s gun at the London Marathon on Sunday, April 21, with Sunderland’s 26-miler on Sunday, April 28.
Mr Harle, who lives with wife Beverley, 33, and daughters Ellie, nine and Evie said: “Evie wasn’t well and we took her to the doctors’, but they just thought it was a viral condition. Then we took her to South Tyneside Hospital and she had some blood tests done.
“When she was diagnosed, our world fell apart. She was only three at the time. It was terrible. It was very tough for our older daughter too, it was a real strain on her. To be told your child has cancer is awful.
“She was transferred to the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle. She was put through the most intense treatment and from May, 2010, she was unable to walk.
“The care she got from all the staff was excellent.”
Little Evie also underwent extensive physiotherapy to help her to get back on her feet and walking tall. She was given the all-clear in November 2011 and is now running free again, just like her dad.
Mr Harle adds: “Running marathons certainly hurts and gives blisters etc, through the training. This is nothing in comparison to what children like Evie go through with their treatment. My aches and pains go away, but the thought of losing your child will remain forever.”
The big freeze put Mr Harle’s training preparations on hold, but now his path is cleared to get ready for his daunting double date in April.
But he only wishes he could have made it a hat-trick of marathons.
Mr Harle adds: “It’s been difficult with the weather but I’m starting going out on runs again, starting with 13 miles and I will build that up to about 18 to 20 miles.
Doing the London Marathon for the first time was the experience of a lifetime. I was planning to do the Manchester Marathon on April 28, as well as the Marathon of the North, which was initially set for May 5 but was moved back to April 28.”
For more information on Mr Harle’s marathon challenge, log on to www.virginmoneygiving.com/evieharle or go to www.facebook.com/Keeplegsrunning