6 Mar

Macmillan Fields 1000 Plus Team

Gregor Townsend with Macmillan team members

The charity partner of Edinburgh Marathon Festival has reported that they will be fielding a 1,000 strong team across the various events from 5K to the feature 26.2 mile classic race on Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27. Macmillan Cancer Support has announced this incredible level of backing and indicated that they now hope to raise £750,000 from the 2012 event.

Charity officials are delighted and anticipate that runners sporting Macmillan's distinctive green and white vests will get huge support from the thousands who will spectate at the Saturday events in Holyrood Park and the longer marathon and half-marathon races on the Sunday.

Members of the Macmillan team recently met Scottish rugby legend Gregor Townsend who provided training tips ahead of the big May running festival. The Macmillan group included a teenage runner who beat cancer, and a 22-year-old who found out he had cancer just months ago after experiencing chest pains when training for the marathon.

Married couple Zeta and Ian Cassidy were also there to get some much needed training advice. The duo need to run as fast as possible round the track to make it back to Glasgow in time for their daughter's First Communion, which is taking place on the same day as the May 27 run.

Gregor Townsend said: "There are some amazing people running for Macmillan this year. It was good to meet a few of them and pass on some training tips. I've ran on behalf of Macmillan in the past and it's always a great feeling knowing that you're helping raise money for people with cancer - it definitely helps you keep going.

"It takes a lot of work to prepare for a run, whether it's a marathon or a 5K, so everyone who is running for Macmillan deserves real credit for taking on a challenge to help people going through a really difficult time. Getting 1000 people to run for Macmillan is fantastic and just shows how much people value the work the charity does."

Glenrothes teen David Hilton, who fought three brain tumours, is planning to run the marathon for Macmillan to thank the charity for the support it gave him when he was ill. The 19-year-old was diagnosed with cancer aged just 17 but fought his way back to health and is now determined to help others with the illness.

David said: "I was shocked when I found out I had cancer. It's not something you think will happen to you when you are a teenager. I got great support from Macmillan and I've been volunteering for the charity for a while. I enjoy running and taking on a marathon seemed like a really good way to raise money for Macmillan as well as to prove to myself that I really am fit and healthy again."

Zeta Cassidy, 46, and husband Ian, 48, are running in memory of Zeta's mum who was supported by Macmillan before she died. The Carluke parents were planning on running the full marathon but had to switch to the half marathon after discovering their youngest daughter's First Communion is on the same day as the run.

Zeta, who hasn't run since 1999, said: "We hadn't expected both events to be on the same day and we did consider not running but we really wanted to do this for Macmillan. We've got a military operation in place with thanks to our friends and family and while we're running our daughters will be getting ready. We've got a family friend who will be waiting at the end ready to whisk us off to Glasgow. It's definitely an incentive to run very fast."

Ben Peters and friend Scott Hale were also there to share training tips ahead of the run. The Livingston men signed up for the run to raise cash for Macmillan after Scott's gran was diagnosed with cancer. But just weeks into the training Ben began experiencing chest pains and a visit to the doctor revealed he had lymphoma. The 22-year-old has had to give up plans to run for Macmillan, but friend Scott is taking on the challenge for both of them.

Scott said: "Macmillan is a great charity and we both have been involved in fundraising before. I couldn't believe it when Ben found out he had cancer but it just made me more determined to get round the track and raise even more money for Macmillan."

For more information on running for Macmillan visit the charity website.