11 July 2019

A teacher at Birkenhead Sixth Form College has completed a staggering 214 mile run in just four days to raise money for a cancer charity.

Art teacher, Alan Redfern, took the challenge to run coast-to-coast, completing the equivalent of a double marathon each day during his journey from Hornsea in East Riding of Yorkshire back to the College.

Although a seasoned runner, this was the biggest battle of his running career, having to overcome both physical and mental trials in order to arrive back to a hero’s welcome from his colleagues.

Fellow teachers, Pat Riley and Liam Dawson, accompanied Alan during his ultramarathon, cycling and running alongside him as support.

Raising nearly £1500 for Maggie’s in Clatterbridge, Alan’s incredible achievement is part of a staff effort at Birkenhead Sixth Form College to raise £10,000 for the charity, and with Alan’s total added in, that target is just about to be met.

Alan said: “So many factors got me through it. The support from everyone at the College and my family and friends has been amazing. My daughters told me to never give up and keep moving forward, so I’ve had that written on my arm. Whenever I felt like giving up, I just had to look at that. I was never going to let them down.”

Alan continued: “On the last night, my body went into meltdown. I couldn’t walk; I was overheating and shivering in bed. I was texting my boss Angela saying that I didn’t think I could do it, and she explained that I’d run more than 150 miles and raised so much money and that I wouldn’t be letting anyone down. I felt like I couldn’t do it, but I looked at my arm, and I said that I’d be getting back to the College, even if I had to crawl.”

Sport and PE teacher, Pat Riley, was with Alan for three days his trek, cycling alongside him and offering encouragement and support. Fellow Art teacher, Liam Dawson, then joined Alan for the final17 miles of the challenge.

Alan said: “Pat was just phenomenal, making me feel so good about what I’d achieved when I was thinking negatively. He’d break up what I’d accomplished into small parts and celebrate the small achievements, which made such a difference to my mindset. Liam even carried my bag for the 17 miles he was with me, plus he never stopped talking, which was exactly what I needed!”

On whether he would ever contemplate undertaking such a test again, Alan surprisingly said: “I know this might sound a bit mad, but yes. Even bigger. Even longer. To raise that much money for charity by doing these things gives me the ultimate drive, and the welcome I received back at the College is something I’ll never forget – I’ve not experienced anything like that before. I’ll do it again, but not tomorrow, and maybe not next week!”

Principal at Birkenhead Sixth Form College, Mike Kilbride, said: “To even start to understand what Alan has achieved is actually very difficult. To keep going, day after day, is truly remarkable. The physical toughness and the mental resilience that Alan has shown has been an inspiration to everyone at the College, and we are just incredibly proud to have been able to offer our support to such a driven and ambitious member of our staff."

You can still donate to Alan's tremendous effort on behalf of Maggie's on his JustGiving page here - https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/coast-to-coast214