Runner friends to take on 100-mile ultramarathon along the South Downs Way for Macmillan Cancer Support

AN ULTRAMARATHON spanning 100 miles along the South Downs Way will see two dedicated runners raising funds for a cancer charity.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 1:27 pm
Matt Taylor and Niall Baker are taking on a 100-mile run along the South Downs Way to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Care

A huge challenge has been set by friends Matt Taylor and Niall Baker who will take on the route through the national park unaided to gain funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

This feat is the latest in a series of extreme running events attempted by the pair, who met through work.

They have previously run from Portsmouth to Winchester, round the Isle of Wight and all the way to Brighton, but this effort will be their furthest distance yet.

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Matt Taylor and Niall Baker are taking on a 100-mile run along the South Downs Way to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Care

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Hayling Island resident Niall, who has been running marathons for about six years, said: ‘There’s going to be dark parts where our brains will be telling us to stop but the reason we can motivate ourselves is that we’re raising money.

‘I think we all know someone affected by cancer, directly or indirectly it affects so many people.’

Matt, from Eastney, took up running two years ago to get fit before his wedding.

Matt Taylor and Niall Baker are taking on a 100-mile run along the South Downs Way to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Care

The 47-year-old railway guard claims to hate running, but has been taking on challenges with Niall to see how far he can push himself.

Matt said: ‘I had never run more than four miles without being completely and utterly dead. I hate it, running is the worst thing ever. It’s boring, it takes too long but if you can get through that the rewards are massive.

‘Running is 99 per cent mental. It’s about learning discipline because the hardest part of running is staring at your shoes and thinking you don’t want to put them on.

‘You can apply the tricks of getting through a long run to other aspects of your life.’

Train driver Niall, 47, has always been into running since his Navy days.

He said: ‘Matt thought there was some sort of secret ingredient to doing it but it’s just mentally setting yourself a target and believing you could do it.’

The donations to Macmillan were inspired by family experiences of cancer by both Matt and Niall.

Matt said: ‘I think there are a lot of people living with cancer who aren’t going to be cured so it seems like a decent charity to improve their lives while they’re living with cancer.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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