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Weekly Edition - Publication date:- 2017-07-10

-en Southport & Mersey Reporter

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Liverpool "Marathon Man" Gears up for Kirby Milers 10 Mile Road Race

Latest race sees running man notch up almost 300 km to date!

A Liverpool marathon fanatic is set to complete his 11th competitive run at Knowsley Safari Park, on 8 October 2017, in a bid to raise ₤5,000 for the AMMF, the UK's only charity dedicated to cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer), a rare and frequently lethal liver cancer.  For 'Marathon Man' Ben Francis, a Research Associate in the Department of Biostatistics, at the University of Liverpool, the Kirkby Milers 10 mile road race follows hard on the heels of an already packed monthly programme of Marathons and Races around the UK and across Europe, including:- the Paris Marathon, in April 2017, and the forthcoming Athens Marathon, that  on 12 November 2017. The mammoth series of races, which began in December 2016, has already seen Ben run more than 295 km, and after the Athens Marathon, this will reach 353 km in total. Outlining his reasons for taking on the huge challenge, Ben explains that he wants to raise awareness of cholangiocarcinoma (cancer of the bile duct) following the loss of his brother Nick, aged 33, after a very brief fight with the disease in December 2014.

As Ben says:- "I never knew just what I had until I lost Nick in December 2014. Since then, through tough and happy times, I have vowed to keep him ever present in my thoughts and actions. My decision to embark on a year of running events; 1 each month; is a way of keeping Nick in my memory. As brothers, and in our own different ways, both Nick and I never backed down from a challenge and I felt this could be a special way of remembering him by keeping alive that shared spirit of meeting a challenge. In so doing, I also hope to increase awareness of cholangiocarcinoma and AMMF whilst also fundraising for the charity's vital ongoing work. Completing each marathon or run is a defining moment and enables me to look back and know what Nick's memory has pushed me to do. Just looking at the mileage achieved in my races thus far, it is roughly the distance from where I am in Liverpool to Chingford cemetery where Nick is buried. This was not intentional but it's a very happy surprise when I've added the numbers!"

In response to the Ben's forthcoming race, Helen Morement, CEO and founder of AMMF comments:- "We're totally bowled over by Ben's mammoth marathon challenge and can't quite get our heads round what he has achieved already and what he has planned. Ben's incredible support and his fundraising efforts go towards helping AMMF in its work to tackle this devastating cancer on all fronts, by providing information and support, campaigning to raise awareness and encouraging and supporting research. Over recent years an enormous and extremely worrying worldwide increase in cholangiocarcinoma's incidence has been noted. Latest figures show there were 2,161 deaths caused by cholangiocarcinoma in 2013 in England alone (NCIN/Cancer52 report). The incidence appears to be increasing across all age groups, including younger people, and the cause of this ongoing increase is unknown. Much more research is desperately needed. Ben is helping to make a difference and we wish him all the best."


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