Final race for Leeds marathon man

FUNDRAISING: Craig Whiteley, outside Morley Town Hall.
FUNDRAISING: Craig Whiteley, outside Morley Town Hall.
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It is a sporting achievement only earned by the most accomplished of runners, who have toured the world in search of marathon glory.

And four years on from running his first marathon, Craig Whiteley is preparing to jet off across the pond to take part in the USA’s Chicago Marathon.

The stateside 26-mile run will round off a mammoth fundraising journey for the 53-year-old, after he first took up the cause in memory of best pal John Smith, who died from pancreatic cancer in 2012.

It will earn him the coveted World Marathon Majors medal, which recognises runners who have completed marathons in Tokyo, Boston, London, New York, Berlin and Chicago.

The final marathon in the series will also bring Mr Whiteley, from Morley, to a total of around £18,000 in fundraising to go towards Leeds’ St Gemma’s Hospice, where John died.

“I started this as a bucket list for fundraising,” he says.

“It will be really emotional at the end of the Chicago Marathon. I think there will be a tear in my eye because it’s such a big achievement for marathons and fundraising.”

The marathon, billed as one of the best running experiences in the world, takes place on October 8.

Mr Whiteley will wear a photograph of his friend John on his back throughout the race in Chicago.

“I think about John every day,” he says.

“He is my best mate and I’ll never forget him.

He said he will keep running and taking part in marathons and half-marathons when he returns to the UK, but this will be his last for charity.

To support Mr Whiteley’ fundraising visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/craigwhiteley

Elijah Lawal, Google's communications manager for the UK and Ireland.

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