Now, that’s going the extra mile!

When last Sunday’s Manchester Marathon was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, hours of arduous training throughout the biting wind and relentless rain of winter could have been in vain for hundreds of runners, including Plymouth man Dave Hardy. Instead, though, he took the news on the chin and showed true grit, donning his running gear and completing all 26 miles in his own back garden, raising over £1,400 for St Luke’s along the way!

Resplendent in his St Luke’s running vest, Dave ran diagonally across the small outdoor space at the Ernesettle home he shares with his partner and his dog, Lola. With all the frequent turning required, it took him seven hours to complete his endeavour while his partner kept the drinks station stocked and Lola put her best paw forward to join him for a few laps along the way.

Also lending support was neighbour Sarah, who from across the garden wall read out messages of encouragement sent by Dave’s family and friends, including his running buddies at Ocean City Running Club, in response to videos of his epic run posted by Dave on social media.

Long distance runner turned garden athlete Dave said: “It was quite a lonely run at times but hearing all the messages and knowing the support I had behind me made a huge difference and helped me keep going to get it done. My lawn might be ruined, but I just wanted to do whatever I could to help in this tough situation we’ve all found ourselves in, and I know St Luke’s needs our community’s support more than ever.

“The charity has a special place in my heart because I’ve never forgotten the fantastic care its team at the hospital gave my mum before she died seven years ago. Later, St Luke’s also looked after a colleague of mine, Mike Peonides, at Turnchapel before he passed away. This local care is so important not just for patients but for the loved ones around them, too. We must never take it for granted.”

Penny Hannah, Head of Fundraising, said: “This is such a difficult time for everyone but seeing how Dave turned the disappointment of a postponed marathon into something really special for St Luke’s has really warmed out hearts.

“His kindness and determination show that life on lockdown is no barrier to fundraising when you think outside the box, and we’re so grateful to him and all who donated for raising such a fantastic amount. It makes a vital difference to all the families who so desperately need us.”

You can show your support and donate to Dave here.