"No half measures" says The Mohican Runner tackling 52 races in 52 weeks
The Children's Hospital in Sheffield is a hospital close to The Mohican Runner's heart, as he was treated for a multitude of injuries and trauma throughout an abusive childhood, during which the hospital staff became a family to the youngster.
Richard Hayes, who established the name 'Mohican Runner' on Twitter, will take charity running to another level with at least one race every week – interlaced with six days of training, to raise money for our charity.
The media ambassador for LEGO said: “One Christmas, one of the nurses at The Children’s Hospital in Sheffield saw that I didn’t have any presents, so she bought me a LEGO pirate set with a ship, a pirate and a palm tree. I built it on my hospital bed and that’s what got me into LEGO. She didn’t have to do that but it made my world and now I play with LEGO for a living. I never had a chance to really say thank you.”
After playing for his school football team and a spot of wrestling in the Royal Navy, Richard left exercise behind and at the age of 30, found himself weighing 20st. When his toddler daughter, Molly, told him he was fat, he decided to turn his life around and give back to the causes that changed his life for the better.
“I knew I was too big but I needed that push and I wasn’t happy. I decided to do something about it and I just focused. The big motivator has to be raising the money. I have a family now and I know that my daughter will receive excellent care from the hospital. I want to help children now and in the future and this is how I can do it.”
In three years, Richard, now 33, has transformed himself into an elite runner, often coming in the top five for races he enters. Though, runner up is not good enough for Richard, a member of Sheffield Hallamshire Harriers.
“The more people tell me I can’t do something, the more I want to do it and the harder I work. People say you can’t PB every race in a year and I have done that for every 10K from 2013 to mid-2015. I am desperate to win a race. That would just be the cherry on the top of the cake.”
He said: “A lot of people in the running world are also parents and they understand what I’m doing on both levels. I’m able to say thank you at last and give money to the hospital that was so important for me as a child and will help future generations. When it’s January and -2 degrees, it’s that motivation that will get me out of bed in the morning.”
The challenge kicked off on Sunday 2nd August with the Run For All York 10K and Richard will take on at least one organised race – interlaced with six days of training, per week and raise sponsorship by painting his face like his favourite childhood wrestlers, and sporting his famous black Mohican.
He said: “You don’t expect someone with a big Mohican and face paint to come in the top five. When I’m on the start line, I often have stewards coming up to me and asking if I’m in the right place because I look like I should be in the back with the other fundraisers in costume. But I’m not going to do something in half measures. I’m going to give 110% and get my personal bests, but I’ll do it in a charity t-shirt and fly the flag for Team Theo – The Children’s Hospital Charity’s team of active challengers!”
The Children’s Hospital in Sheffield is one of only four stand-alone children’s hospital’s in the country and sees over 260,000 patient visits from across the UK and beyond, every year. The Children’s Hospital Charity funds life-saving equipment, vital research and treatment for thousands of children from across the world and helps to create a comfortable, engaging environment for patients and their families.
Tonya Kennedy, events fundraiser at The Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “It’s so exciting when supporters tell us they want to run for our charity, but to have Richard pledge to run at least 52 races in 52 weeks is incredible. We hope his motivation is infectious and we’ll see lots of people taking to charity running for Team Theo.”
To donate or follow Richard’s progress, visit www.mohicanrunner.co.uk.