Mark Thornberry a 57-year-old man from Ashtead in Surrey, England wasn’t about to let something like a terminal liver cancer diagnosis stop him from completing the Grand Union Canal a 145-mile run from Whitehaven dock in the North West to Tynemouth castle.
Thornberry, whose ability to keep running despite his prognosis, has doctors a bit baffled. His doctors had given him a grim prognosis saying in all likelihood he would be dead by March. Here is is August and he is still going strong telling Express UK:
I am still alive! Having ‘beaten’ my original prognosis of six to nine months, I’ve definitely got the medics stroking their chins. I am returning to the Canal on Saturday to run the ‘official’ race – the one I couldn’t do last May due to commencing treatment – 145 miles, but as a single stage, continuous race.
Also on Thornberry’s agenda is to raise some serious cash for the hospital treating his cancer. He has already raised £80,000 for the King’s College Hospital Charity Fund. You can donate here.
This isn’t the first long distance marathon Thornberry has completed. He previously ran a 100-mile race in the Arizonian Desert and remembers the cries of the coyotes fondly, saying:
It was so beautiful at night. The most magical thing is hearing the coyotes sing at night. I shouted ‘f*** you cancer’ into a canyon at 3am and the coyotes started to sing back to me.
Thornberry says about his latest journey:
I am frustrated that I can not be cured but know that every penny I can raise will help the medics better understand liver cancer progression and allow them to treat people like me in the future.
I will not go gently into that good night.
A documentary was made about Thornberry.
And he doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.
Racing tomorrow kicking off at 7am. From Irish Sea to North Sea on the Coast to Coast cycle route. Non-stop. Maximum 38 hours to get the 140 miles done, about 16,000 feet of cumulative ascent to keep one honest. Dot watching available! https://t.co/rCunVWU2JL #fyc
— Mark Thornberry (@thorners125) August 24, 2018
He has many supporters cheering him on.
Best of luck Mark – I'll be watching
— Kate (@PeaksPrincess) August 24, 2018
— Anne-Marie ♀️ (@binkybunny7) August 24, 2018
Good luck Thorners!!
— RH (@runboyrun35) August 24, 2018
All the very best my friend!
— Con (@wildconrad) August 24, 2018
All the best Mark, what an inspiration you are. I hope the weather is kind and Mr Cockbain is good to you all ! Finally I know you’ll be fab, look after our Dave
— David Goodwin (@skyblue_dave) August 24, 2018
Fantastic, sounds like a real adventure Mark, good luck and enjoy the experience
— irunoffroad (@irunoffroad) August 24, 2018
Best of luck Mark. Should get some cracking views !
— Andrew Dearing (@andydearing) August 24, 2018
Good luck Mark!
— '2 Owls' Elt (@twoowls73) August 24, 2018
Good luck. Sounds like an epic race
— Nick Gayle (@NickGayle2) August 24, 2018
Epic. Have an awesome time.
— Ivor (@ivor_hewitt) August 24, 2018
You can donate to Thornberry’s campaign here.