Completing a single marathon takes a lot of training and running ability. Imagine what it takes to do one every day for an entire year.
Gary McKee of Cumbria, England, spent every day of 2022 completing a marathon. McKee ran 26.2 miles on 365 consecutive days, ending his streak on Dec. 31.
In the process, McKee raised a lot of money for charity— over $1.4 million.
The money will be split between two charities. One is for the cancer center that treated his dad starting in 1997. The other half will go to a hospice facility in his community.
McKee said he has been raising funds for Macmillan Cancer Support for over 20 years after having his “world turned upside down.” He completed other challenges in support of Macmillan, including cycling across Brazil and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
McKee said his father was able to continue on with life before dying from a non-related illness in 2003.
“In his memory, I wanted to do something,” McKee said. “I became a fundraiser for Macmillan knowing other people were being told the devastating news we’ve been told. I wanted to give them some support and some help.”
While McKee was hopeful of raising the amount he did, he was unsure it would happen given the current global economic instability.
“You just don’t know how much money you’re going to raise,” he said. “It was enormous. And that money keeps going up and up. It will settle down shortly, but to be able to raise that much money— what it means is the charities can give that support to people who aren’t diagnosed with cancer. So, people who got that devastating news we got, the moneies are going to be a massive amount of help."
McKee previously ran a marathon for 110 consecutive days in 2021.
“I realized I had something left; I could have carried on,” he said. “I sat down with my family and what it would mean to the family, and I realized it was 365 opportunities to help the people to raise money for the charities, but also inspire the people to push themselves a little bit further and get out of their comfort zone to get a better version of themselves.”
While McKee often finished his marathons in under four hours during the first few months of his challenge, a hamstring injury caused him to slow down toward the end. But reducing his pace, he said, allowed more runners to join him during runs. He said numerous runners completed their first marathon alongside him. These runners added to his motivation, making it easy for him to continue his quest.
“By the time I finished, 200 people had done the marathon distance with me,” McKee said. “Previous to that (injury), there weren’t a lot of people sticking with my pace. Even though it was repetitive, it was fairly quick. So we slowed things down and go through it. But my body got used to it.”
McKee offered some advice for those who might doubt their abilities.
“Do what you can and always believe in yourself and push yourself a little bit further,” McKee said. "You never know what your limits are until you try, so just keep pushing.”
McKee doesn’t know what he’ll do next, but he does plan to keep running and keep fundraising for the charities close to him.
While McKee's record has not yet been certified, the Guinness Book of World Records lists Larry Macon for completing the most marathons in a year with 239.