It’s been eight years since Warrenpoint man Christopher Patterson first laced up his running shoes to take part in marathons across Ireland, the UK and beyond. Now, he is preparing to run in what will be his 11th competition since.
This October at the Dublin Marathon, Christopher hopes to raise some much needed funds for the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust and set a personal best time of under four hours.
Founded in 2013, the Kevin Bell Trust is a charity that helps bereaved families with the repatriation of their loved ones who have died abroad in sudden or tragic circumstances.
Thirty-seven-year-old Christopher ran his first marathon back in 2015 in Belfast, and since then has tried to do most of his runs in aid of local charities.
He estimates that he has raised close to £10,000 overall for various charities since he started running.
He explained: “I raised just over £700 for a Lourdes charity in 2015 running the Belfast Marathon. In 2016 I ran the Derry and Dublin Marathons in aid of Newry Gateway Club, raising just over £1,800.
“At the London Marathon in 2018 I raised just over £4,800 for the Southern Area Hospice and in 2020 I raised £2,025 for the Hospice again, running my own marathon in the lockdown due to the Berlin Marathon getting cancelled.
When asked why he initially decided to take up marathon running, Christopher said: “It was just the challenge of it. It was something that I always wanted to do but I never got around to it and kept putting it off.”
Christopher’s next big event will be the Dublin Marathon on October 29, for which he has already started fundraising.
He says that he chose the Kevin Bell Repatriation Trust because it is a local charity, and also because he himself has lived and travelled abroad over the years.
“I know a few friends and family living abroad and God forbid if anything ever happened to them, I know Kevin Bell would act. It takes a lot of strain off the families.”
Christopher has set himself a personal goal of beating the marathon in under four hours, a target which he has missed by mere minutes on previous occasions. This time, he is putting extra pressure on himself to try and get over the line with a new personal best.
He said: “My training is going well at the minute. I’ve been keeping consistent at it. I’d be running mostly five days a week. I’m trying to do three to four smallish runs, and a big run once a week.
“I did the Newry half-marathon two weeks ago and got it in an hour and 49 minutes. It’s just about getting the training right and trying to keep on top and stay consistent.”
With four months to go to the big day, Christopher says he is excited but nervous.
“I have a few nerves,” he said. “Sometimes you struggle to get a night’s sleep before it. Hopefully if I keep going the way I’m going I should hit the target. Dublin’s a wee bit flatter than Belfast!
“I’m putting a bit of extra pressure on myself to try and reach the goal. I have a fundraising target of £1,000 and I’m £345 into it already!”
You can donate to Christopher’s fundraiser using his JustGiving page here.