A Bournemouth school caretaker who suffered a bleed on his brain when he was hit by a drink driver five years ago, is to run 27 marathons in 26 consecutive days for a local hospice charity.
Paul O’Boyle, 56, from Boscombe, sustained fractures to his skull, ribs and collarbone when he was knocked off his bike in Wallisdown Road in July 2015. The drink driver was imprisoned for over a year and banned from driving for three years and seven months.
Father-of-one Paul spent a month off work from his job at the Bishop of Winchester School, recovering from his injuries before undergoing many months of physio and speech therapy. Five years on, he has fought his way back to fitness and plans to spend the first 26 days of October running over 700 miles to raise funds for the Macmillan Unit in Christchurch.
Paul said: “It’s been a long haul. I was too scared to even ride my bike for a long time. But I received amazing treatment, physiotherapy and support from the NHS and running has now become a way of life for me.” Paul has run the New York Marathon once and the London Marathon three times He first fundraised for the Macmillan Unit in 2017, running a double marathon.The Macmillan Unit provides palliative care and support for over 1600 people and their families every year.
Paul said: “Ever since I became aware of the unit I have tried to help them in whatever way I can.”He continued: “The charity behind the unit, Macmillan Caring Locally is now fundraising to replace the old unit with a fabulous new one, through its Brick by Brick appeal.“Nothing makes me happier than knowing my run will fund some of the bricks in that new building.”
Paul will start each day of his mammoth quest at 3am, cycling from his home near Boscombe Pier to Bournemouth Pier, where he will park his bike and run two laps of the Bournemouth Half Marathon route. After soaking his tired legs in the sea, he will cycle home, eat and then sleep for two hours, before travelling to school for his 12-8 caretaker shift. During the first 25 days of October he will complete a full marathon each day. Then on Monday 26th he will do the same again. But continue on to the Macmillan Unit in Christchurch for a grand finish. Completing 27 marathons in 26 days.
He said: “The school has been great, letting me change my shift around the running. “I’ve been seriously training since last November as I was planning to run the Jurassic 100k for the hospice. “That event like many others, has been postponed because of COVID. “The charity would have also had five people running in the London marathon – and that too has been postponed. So I knew I had to ‘go big’ and try and recoup some of the money they have lost. Paul added: “I’m not going to say it will be easy. It will probably half kill me! But I’m excited and I know I can do this – both for the Macmillan Unit and myself.”
Neal Williams, Trust Secretary of Macmillan Caring Locally, said: “I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say that Paul has become somewhat of a superhero figure to everyone at the Macmillan Unit. “To overcome what he has and go on to conquer such challenges, is nothing short of incredible. “We hope that other people will want to show their admiration for him by sponsoring his run. His fundraising will enable us to provide end of life care and support for even more people and their families.”
Running Free in Ashley Cross, Poole has also donated a free pair of running shoes to Paul for his quest. Owner Oli White, said: “Paul is such an unassuming guy we were bowled over to discover the remarkable challenge he is setting himself. Making sure he has the best shoes is our pleasure.”
Paul can be sponsored via: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Team/ManyManyMilesforMCL