After completing his remarkable half-marathon a day for the duration of September, Alastair McMurray has happily declared he has caught the running bug. The oncology pharmacist accomplished his challenge on Friday (September 30) with Stirling Castle as his backdrop, before swiftly preparing for the Strathcarron 10k just two days later.
Alastair's challenge reverberated amongst friends and family alike, with more than 63 people taking part in the Strathcarron race sporting the signature yellow Leukaemia top the Stirling runner wore throughout his thirty half-marathons.
Speaking to scottishrunningguide.com, Alastair was clearly elated, if a little disconsolate, in having completed his challenge, commenting: "It's really strange, although I have finished and I am obviously delighted, I feel like I'm suffering withdrawal symptoms. There's something subdued about having finished it."
The Stirling born runner managed to complete his own personal target of finishing each half-marathon within 2 hours, with the average time of the 30 runs working out at 1:43:00. As is the nature of such prolonged challenges, Alastair faced numerous obstacles throughout the month, including a four-day conference trip to Sweden in which he found himself perpetually lost in the streets of Stockholm when trying to complete his half-marathons.
This, in addition to the treacherous weather Scotland endured towards the middle of September, did little to dampen his determination, "Although you end up facing different obstacles, I never once woke up and re-considered what I was doing. Even after running with cramp for 11-miles in the penultimate race, I still couldn't wait to get up the next morning and get out there."
Alastair's primary source of motivation for the challenge was the memory of his close friend and running enthusiast Pat Beausang, who died of leukaemia in 2009. With an initial target set at £5,000 for Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research, Alastair has more than quadrupled this figure, with donations till pouring in. The money raised, he explains, has been overwhelming: "I have been astounded by the generosity of people, I can't thank everyone enough."
As a means of overcoming his withdrawal symptoms, the runner has targeted a sub 40-minute 10k and a half-marathon under an hour and a half for the upcoming months. As for his present challenge, he said his neighbour presented him with 31 beers, one for each day of October.