“Our friends and family think we’re crazy, but if research can prevent even one person from suffering it’s worth it.”
Gemma and Craig Scott, from Scunthorpe in the UK, are the ultimate power couple. They’ve raised an incredible £7,000 doing running challenges for Worldwide Cancer Research. They even had their wedding themed around the London Marathon, which they ran together to fundraise for our charity back in 2012.
This time they’ve decided to run 10 marathons on 2 continents in 14 months. So far this year, they’ve completed challenges in Manchester, Hull, North Lincolnshire and Dublin, always running and training side by side.
We caught up with them (before they run off again) to ask what inspires them to dedicate all their spare time to training and fundraising.
Tell us about the challenges you’ve set yourself.
We’ve set out to do 10 marathons on 2 continents in just over a year to raise money for Worldwide Cancer Research. The Manchester Marathon was one of the first on our list which we completed in April, then it was the Liverpool Rock N Roll Marathon in May and the Lady Bower trial Marathon in June. The next race is right around the corner, the Robin Hood Marathon in Nottingham on the 26th September.
We then head to Canada for the Toronto Marathon in October, our first international event. Afterwards we head to Las Vegas in November, Barcelona in February, Madrid or London (depending on what place we get) then the Liverpool Marathon in May. To top the year off, we’re doing what’s called “The Wall” which is a 69 mile Ultra Marathon along Hadrian’s Wall in June 2017.
A highlight of the whole year will be when we return to the Manchester Marathon in April with Craig’s dad who is 65 and running his first ever marathon.
That’s an epic amount of running. Why do you do it?
The sense of achievement you get afterwards is unbelievable. It’s a feeling you can’t buy. I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s enjoyable at the time, but finishing all these challenges will be amazing. We always think that the pain we experience when running is nothing compared to what people with cancer go through and that is something that helps us dig deep when we are at the point of exhaustion.
The main challenge is the training, and that’s where the real work is done. The worst part is getting up early and going for a 3 hour run in gale force winds and torrential rain, or running in extreme heat.
Do you always run together as a couple?
We have been together for 12 years and spend most of our spare time together. Training together helps us understand how each of us are feeling. On the race day, if one of us struggling, the other always knows how they’re feeling, without even having to ask, because of their body language. By working together we can get through the part of the race where you hit “the wall.”
We wouldn’t want to run a marathon on our own. Our friends and family think we’re crazy, but they support us and what we’re trying to achieve.
Why did you choose to fundraise for Worldwide Cancer Research?
We first got introduced to Worldwide Cancer Research back in 2011 when I managed to get a ballot place for London Marathon, but Craig didn’t get one, so we looked for a place for him and found the charity there. We decided that we would want to raise money for a cause that was close to our hearts with both our families being affected by cancer.
Cancer has affected our families a lot over the last 12 years. Between 2007 and 2008, Craig lost all 3 of his grandparents to cancer, followed by his Aunt 2 years after that. I lost my Granddad in 2009 to skin cancer, then in 2013 my Aunt died from Leukaemia. Sadly, in December 2015 my Uncle lost his battle to stomach cancer. In the last few weeks my Mum has just been diagnosed with lung cancer.
If I can prevent one person from suffering like my family have, then any pain I experience during the race is not a patch on the pain that person with cancer has to suffer. That helps me when I need to dig deep.
Do you have any advice on training for marathons across different countries and places?
Marathons are always different on the different continents because the terrain and air pressure can be different. When we visited family in Canada and went running there, we found the air much thinner than in the UK. It can be harder to run in a different country if you are not used to the conditions as it can throw you off slightly.
The great thing about the training is once you have trained up to marathon distance, you never really lose that fitness. We find as a result, in between races we don’t need to put in as much hard work. We do a lot of fast short runs during the week and alternate the bigger distance runs every other weekend. For example, one weekend we would run 18 miles, the next we would do 10 miles, followed by a 20 mile run.
They’re in the running for a further £10,000 from the Mountain Warehouse Charity Challenge. You can vote for them here.