Alfie’s Army of runners raise more than £7500 after gruelling 48-hour challenge

Team of 10 runners smashed £1k fundraising target!

A GROUP of kind-hearted runners have raised more than £7,500 for a young boy with Leukaemia after they completed a mammoth running challenge. 

The runners, all friends and family of Mark Lees from Shaw, completed the gargantuan Goggins Challenge to help raise money for five-year-old Alfie Fagan from Huddersfield.  

Mark died from a brain tumour in 2015, aged just 24. His family and friends – many keen runners – have taken on charity running challenges in his memory in the past and this was their toughest yet as they ran four miles, every four hours for 48 hours. In total, they ran 48 miles over twelve runs, with some of the runs taking place late at night and in the early hours of the morning.  

The run was led by Mark’s brother, Matt, 33, who was keen to support his colleague Sarah and her family after learning her son Alfie was poorly.

Mark Lees, who passed away aged 24

When he approached the family with the idea of a charity run, he found out that Alfie’s dad, Mark, had been his brother’s lecturer when he undertook a Coaching and Sports Development course at Hopwood Hall College.  

Matt and the team of runners set a fundraising target of £1,000 and are thrilled to have beaten that total by some distance.  

Matt said: “We are absolutely blown away by how much money we have raised and we have been so overwhelmed by everyone’s support. A team of 10 of us took part in the run over the weekend of May 6th and it was extremely challenging, it was harder than any of us had envisaged but we were determined to see it through and I’m pleased to say all 10 of us completed all 12 runs with lots of support along the way.  

“On one of the runs we were joined by Alfie and his dad Mark and they set us off at the start line, which gave us all the strength to push on to the finish line. Whilst the run was a real challenge for us, it is nothing compared to Alfie’s fight. We were thinking of him and my brother Mark every step of the way.” 

In 2020 on what would have been Mark’s 29th birthday dozens of his friends ran 29km and raised £8,000 for Clic Sergeant. 

Matt added: “We were so overwhelmed by everyone’s efforts on our last challenge and this year we wanted to really step it up a gear. When I heard about Alfie’s story, I wanted to do something to help his family during this time – and I knew my brother would too.  

“We know Mark would have wanted us to do whatever we could to help the Fagan family. We received so much support from our family and friends during Mark’s illness and it’s important to us to carry on Mark’s legacy and help another family in what we know is such a devastating situation.” 

Alfie with his mum, Sarah

Alfie was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2021 and continues to undergo treatment, so is frequently at the hospital with his family mum Sarah, 34, dad Mark, 36, and sister Emily, 7, by his side.  

Dad Mark said: “The challenge that Matt and the team completed is incredible and we cannot thank them enough for what they have done. Similarly, we would like to thank everyone that has donated to support Alfie through his battle. Alfie and I were lucky enough to see the runners off for one of the legs and we could see how tough it was, however, everyone was so determined to complete the challenge, a fitting tribute to Mark.” 

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