Published: March 8, 2009
Burnham-On-Sea runner is ready for marathon fundraising effort

As a long-distance lorry driver, Jon Cassin is quite comfortable clocking up thousands of miles a week by criss-crossing Britain.

But at the end of March he will have to go through the ultimate pain barrier just to complete a mere 13 miles when he relies on his feet to get him to the end of his journey.

On March 29th, Jon will travel from Burnham-On-Sea to Reading to take part in his first-ever half marathon to raise money for Pancreatic Cancer UK, a charity that concentrates solely on pancreatic cancer by funding research and providing support for patients and their families.

"A very good friend of my mum and dad, Margery O'Reilly, who was a local district nurse, died from pancreatic cancer," Jon told Burnham-On-Sea.com.

"Margery died on the first day of this year and one of the last things she did before going into the hospice for the final time was to organise a joint Christmas lunch for her family and ours."

"She was so brave and fought so hard against a terrible and painful disease that I just felt I wanted to do something to try and help other people like her in the future and perhaps help come up with improved treatment and, who knows, maybe one day, a cure."

Jon has been in training now for more than a month, gradually building up his stamina and increasing his distances week-by-week.

"I try and manage one 12-miler and then several six-milers in a week. I just have to fit training around my trucking schedules and then at weekend I can intensive the training," he said.

"No one is saying it is easy and you do hit that 'wall' all marathon runners talk about. It really is disorientating. Your vision goes a bit blurred, sound becomes muffled and you think you can't go on. But of course you must and you just force your way through the wall."

Last week, Jon completed his first competitive run when he completed a 10 kilometre run in Cardiff in a respectable 42 minutes. Afterwards he said: "I am glad that is over because know I can do it and, what's more, improve on that performance. It has given me a real boost and I am going to step my training from now on with Reading as my ultimate goal."

To help Jon by sponsoring his "Running for Marge" bid at the Reading Half-marathon, contact him for a sponsorship form at 25 Adam Street in Burnham, call him on 07554 432812 or visit www.pancreaticcancer.org.uk and click on '2009 events', then 'support our fundraising', and click on Jon's name in the Reading race report.

Our photos show Jon in training for his 13-mile fundraising run and, below, the late Margery O'Reilly, who has inspired his efforts




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