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Dan's Triple Marathon Challenge


Marathon runner

If the thought of completing one marathon sounds challenging enough, how about running THREE marathons in just 35 days?

Many of us might consider that simply 78.6 miles too far, but that’s exactly what the University of Bradford's Dan Phillis is in the middle of doing.

With London ticked off, the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Officer is now looking forward to this Sunday’s Leeds marathon before heading to Edinburgh to achieve the hat-trick on Sunday, 28th May. 

"I never intended doing three," he said. "But I got a place for London and then the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon was launched, named after the former Leeds Rhinos rugby player and motor neurone disease (MND) campaigner. 

"I used to work for Leeds Rhinos, in the press office, so I knew Rob when he was playing and his story has touched me, as it has so many people. Then I thought, ‘Well, two’s okay, but what if I could do three and make this my year of fundraising?"

Marathon poster

A regular runner since his teenage years, Dan has completed marathons before, including Berlin and Chester, where he sped to glory in just two hours and 55 minutes.

He said: "Getting down to under three hours is a big thing for runners and something I wanted to achieve. Doing three in a row though means taking a different approach. I’m just trying to get around the courses and experience them.

"London was brilliant. There’s something special about the London marathon. The crowds are five or six rows deep the whole way around and the noise they make is unparalleled. Some of the sections are breathtaking, like going over Tower Bridge. Finishing on The Mall, it’s hard not to get goosebumps."

Joining the fight for MND 

More than 12,000 runners will be at the starting line at Headingley Stadium on Sunday (May 14). Organisers announced last month that £1m had already been pledged through the event for local and national charities. Dan has raised nearly £800 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. It’s a cause close to his heart, not just because of his association with Rob Burrow. 

He said: "My grandma, Joyce, died from MND, in 2004. Her passing left a large hole in our family. She was a woman who had led a busy, active and social life right up to the point where MND took hold. My sister-in-law’s mother also died from the condition, just last year. It has given me even more reason to want to join the fight and help support the MND Association in its work, in both finding a cure and supporting those affected and their families in day-to-day life."

The brand new course in Leeds will take runners on a circular route starting and finishing at the Stadium, and taking in Hyde Park, Meanwood, Adel, Bramhope and Otley - with a killer climb at the 18-mile mark UP the Chevin.  

"Yeah, that’s going to be tough," said Dan. "London and Edinburgh are flat marathons but West Yorkshire is hilly. I’m sure there’s going to be a great atmosphere with it being the first one."

Give him a cheer 

The streets are sure to be packed with spectators, including Dan’s parents, Rob and Lynda, who will be travelling from Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, to cheer him on.
Dan said: "The crowds provide a massive boost, especially if you’re in a tough spot and grinding away trying to get round. Seeing a friendly face gives you that lift and pushes you on."

  • You can donate to Dan’s 3 in 35 challenge through this Just Giving link.
  • Around 5,000 people in the UK are living with MND.
  • To learn more about the condition, watch this short animation