Carol churns out 30 for charity

Ever thought of doing 30 running races in one year? And not just for the immense challenge of it all, but for charity? Well this is exactly what the popular Namban Rengo member Carol Cunningham achieved in 2008. Carol, now based in Melbourne, Australia, raced in five countries (UK, USA, Australia, Japan and Singapore) and racked up 453.3 km (283.3 miles) of racing.

“I was coming up to the big three-oh,” explained Carol, “and wanted to set myself a challenge…do something a bit different with my running and at the same time raise some money for two charities that mean a lot to me.”

Having had asthma since she was a child growing up in northern England, Carol’s first charity was Asthma UK. The other was Get Kids Going! “This is a charity that helps disabled children become involved in sports, including running,” she said. This was an obvious target for an asthma sufferer who has found how to lead a normal (some may argue with that) life as a long-distance runner.
Initially she intended to simply run a few marathons and half marathons, but the list of possible races proved difficult to narrow down, so instead of culling races from the list, “I decided to find a few more races and round it out to an even 30, the same as my impending landmark birthday,” she said.

Any highlights of this grueling schedule, Carol?
“I can honestly say I enjoyed every race, but the highlights were Disney half and full (run on consecutive days), running with my mum at Disney, Warwick Pentarun, achieving PBs in the full and half marathons, seeing Haile [Gebresalassie, the world record-holder for the full marathon] and running in the same race as him in the inaugural Great Melbourne Run. But topping all this was running with so many of my friends and involving them in the challenge. I was joined for the Great Melbourne Run by Namban’s Kazuo Chiba, which was just great.” (see photo)

And how did it feel to finish?
“Of course I’m really happy to have completed it.  More than this I raised around 600 pounds [about 100,000 yen] for the charities and am so grateful for all the generous contributions.  That was the overriding aim of all of this.”

Most people would probably be content to rest on their laurels after a year like that. Carol admitted that she will need to take 2009 relatively easy, but is eyeing off 2010 as another year of big things. “I think the next goal for me is an ultra marathon, so if you know anyone who is up for Comrades or maybe even Marathon de Sables…let me know,” she said with a cheeky smile.

Here is the full list of races that Carol completed:

Race Number Date Race name Result
1. 1 Jan 2008     Cleethorpes 10 km
2. 12 Jan 2008 Disney half marathon
3. 13 Jan 2008 Disney marathon
4. 17 Feb 2008 Tokyo marathon
5. 1 Mar 2008 Victoria Road Runners 8 km
6. 24 Mar 2008 Sri Chinmoy 15 km
7. 5 Apr 2008     Victoria Road Runners 8 km
8. 27 Apr 2008 Sri Chinmoy 15 km finished 3rd
9. 3 May 2008 Victoria Road Runners 4km
10. 24 May 2008 Warwick half marathon finished 2nd
11. 24 May 2008 Warwick 4.6 km cross country finished 2nd
12. 24 May 2008 Warwick 5 km finished 2nd
13. 25 May 2008 Warwick 10 km finished 1st
14. 25 May 2008 Warwick 1.5 km finished 2nd
15. 7 June 2008 Victoria Road Runners 4km
16. 22 June 2008 Run Melbourne half marathon PB (1:29) and 5th female
17. 6 Jul 2008     Gold Coast marathon PB (3:13)
18. 2 Aug 2008 Victoria Road Runners 8 km
19. 10 Aug 2008 Sydney City to Surf ~14 km
20. 24 Aug 2008 Victoria Road runner’s half marathon WON!
21. 31 Aug 2008 Adelaide half marathon
22. 4 Oct 2008 Victoria Road Runners 4km
23. 12 Oct 2008 Melbourne half marathon
24. 1 Nov 2008 Victoria Road Runners 4km
25. 9 Nov 2008 Sri Chinmoy Geelong 10km finished 2nd
26. 13 Nov 2008 Aviva 1 mile run
27. 30 Nov 2008 Great Australia Run
28. 7 Dec 2008 Singapore marathon 33rd female
29. 11 Dec 2008 Victoria Road Runners 4 km
30. 31 Dec 2008 Victoria Road Runners NYE run 8 km finished 2nd