Northern Ireland news

Co Derry man completes 40 day running challenge for Air Ambulance

Eugene Winters ran 40 sub-two half marathons in 40 days

NO stranger to running, a Co Derry man has completed another challenge by pounding the pavements for 40 days in a row.

Eugene ‘Oggie’ Winters (63) ran 40 sub-two half marathons - running 13.1 miles in less than two hours - in 40 days to raise funds for the Air Ambulance charity.

He donated £10 of his own money for every half marathon completed in a row.

It is not the first time that Mr Winters, who only took up running at the age of 55, has run for charity.

By the time he turned 60, he had completed 300 marathons in 300 weeks for Action Mental Health - achieving it ahead of target in just 270 weeks.

He has also completed more than 500 full marathons within 500 full weeks for The Rainbow Project.

His next challenge is to take on the virtual half marathon in Belfast in May to support the Air Ambulance and he is appealing for people to also take up the challenge.

"None of us know when you might need the medical services of the air ambulance team and living in Portstewart it's reassuring to know the team are there to help if needed," he said.

"Please go for it, follow a training schedule and so long as your fitness allows, stick to it.

"Doing the runs for charity helps you keep focused and is a great one to consider starting in these challenging Covid-19 times.

"I have really enjoyed the running.

"When I started it helped me lose weight, and now helps me keep fit, look after my mind, and deal with the grief of the loss of my civil partner, Brian."

Kerry Anderson, head of fundraising at Air Ambulance NI said Mr Winters is "an inspiration to us all and we are very grateful for his support".

"The donation of £400 could be the next fill of fuel for the helicopter to reach a critically ill patient anywhere in Northern Ireland," she said.

"We would love those who can to consider following Oggie’s example in your own way.

"You might choose to run a distance each day for a month or take on an official event like The Deep RiverRock Belfast City Virtual Half Marathon and raise sponsorship from friends and family.

"Help save lives, brains and limbs."

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