March 8, 2009
runner is ready for marathon fundraising effort
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
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
and click on '2009 events', then 'support our fundraising', and
click on Jon's name in the Reading race report.
photos show Jon in training for his 13-mile fundraising run and,
below, the late Margery O'Reilly, who has inspired his efforts