This man ran every day for a year to raise money for cancer research – and he hasn't broken his streak

Jacob Moreton
·2-min read
Photo credit: Paul Stalley
Photo credit: Paul Stalley

From Runner's World

Many of us have tried to improve our running routines throughout lockdown. But one runner has taken that to extraordinary lengths, running every day since March 2020.

Paul Stalley, from Chickerell in Dorset, has run at least one mile every day since the pandemic took hold, raising more than £2,000 for Cancer Research UK in the process.

Beginning on March 22, 2020, Stalley has run an average of 30 miles each week, according to a post on his fundraising page; he finished 2020 with a solo trail marathon. When his fundraising push began, his target was £500. His total now stands at £2,255.07.

Stalley, who had done some ‘casual’ running before beginning his streak, told Runner’s World that the project began as a way to introduce some discipline into his routine when lockdown began.

‘It seemed to actually help, so I thought, well, let’s do this for a year,’ he says.

Choosing to raise money for Cancer Research UK wasn’t a difficult decision, as he explains on his fundraising page:

‘Through cancer I have lost my father, grandmother, aunt, and have friends and relatives who are still fighting this terrible disease now. The Covid-19 pandemic has made it even more difficult for cancer patients and researchers.’

While some runners might have been daunted by the prospect of having to go out every day, Stalley says he didn’t struggle with motivation:

‘By changing the ‘shall I?’ question into an ‘I shall’ statement, it completely changes your mindset. That was quite an eye-opener for me, and has become really motivational.’

He says his motivation was boosted by the need to look after Bonzo, a shielding friend’s dog.

‘You don’t have a choice. Unless you want to be cruel to the animal, you have to take it out. I think that really helps as a motivator. And she’s also good fun.’

It’s fair to say Stalley has caught the bug – although he’s completed his 365 days of running, he is currently on day 387, having refused to break his streak. And despite having to isolate after being contacted by Test and Trace, he has yet to take a day off.

‘It turns out running up and down your garden is really, really boring, but you can do it.’

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