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It’s a Tyne start for cancer survivor Findlay’s Great World Run

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by Cancer Research UK | News

7 September 2006

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A COURAGEOUS cancer survivor jogged alone across the Tyne Bridge at 6.00am on Thursday, September 7th to highlight the start of his fundraising mission to run 24 half marathons in 24 consecutive days, ending with the BUPA Great North Run.

Findlay Young, 32, aims to raise £100,000 for Cancer Research UK after surviving thyroid cancer twice in two years.

Between September 7th and October 1st 2006, he will run 314.4miles in 12 countries across six continents and travel for around 130 hours by plane to complete his charity challenge.

Findlay will run half marathons in: Reykjavik in Iceland; Rio De Janeiro and Sao Paulo in Brazil; New York, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Anchorage, Kodiak and Nome (the furthest tip of Alaska) in the USA; Auckland in New Zealand; Sydney, Canberra, Uluru (the traditional name for Ayres Rock) and Perth in Australia; Singapore; Delhi and Mumbai in India; Dubai in the United Arab Emirates; Addis Ababa in Ethiopia; Athens in Greece and Amsterdam in Holland.

His final destination will be Newcastle upon Tyne for the start of the BUPA Great North Run on Sunday, October 1st.

Findlay, who lives in London but grew up in Castle Douglas, Scotland, said: “I feel very excited and nervous. The next time I run over the Tyne Bridge I will be taking part in the BUPA Great North Run and I will have achieved my mission.”

He added: “As I travel around the world, I will carry the picture of the Tyne Bridge in my mind and it will help me to stay focused on my ultimate goal.”

Findlay, whose supporters have dubbed him ‘Scotland’s answer to Forest Gump’ will have to cope with climate change as he travels across continents.

He continued: “I’m packing for the extreme heat of the dessert in Dubai and the chill of Nome on the edge of the Balkan sea in Alaska, for running on Copacabana beach in Rio and pounding the streets of New York.”

Findlay’s suitcase will include six pairs of running shoes, 72 pairs of socks and a large supply of Cancer Research UK T-shirts.

He said: “I’m aware of the huge challenge I’ve set for myself. When the going gets tough I will focus on raising money for Cancer Research UK and the messages of support I’ve had from people all over the world to help me keep going.”

Findlay has received messages of support from celebrities from the worlds of sport, comedy and television including Olympic gold medallist Lord Sebastian Coe, explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Little Britain star David Walliams and Cancer Research UK running ambassador model Nell McAndrew.

Findlay was joined on the Tyne Bridge at the symbolic start of his journey by Brendan Foster, Olympic medallist and Chairman of Nova International.

The BUPA Great North Run has played a significant role in Findlay’s recovery from cancer.

When Findlay was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer in July 2003, he set himself the goal of taking part in the event the following year to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

During his treatment the challenge grew and in 2004, Findlay ran four half marathons in all four countries of the UK in 24-hours, culminating in the BUPA Great North Run.

In April 2005, Findlay was diagnosed with thyroid cancer again. He had surgery to remove his thyroid gland on May 24th 2005 and four months later took part in the BUPA Great North Run for Cancer Research UK.

Brendan Foster said “Findlay has been an inspiration to us all in recent years. Now, by taking on this remarkable Great World Run challenge, he will inspire people across the world. I look forward to welcoming him back to Tyneside on October 1st for the BUPA Great North Run. Everyone at Nova International will be with him in spirit every step of the way.”

As well as offering words of encouragement, Brendan will be taking Findlay’s running number – number 24 – for safekeeping. He will return it to him for the start of the BUPA Great North Run.

From Newcastle, Findlay Young will fly to London and then on to Reykjavik for the first stage of his ‘Great World Run.’

Helen Jackson, Cancer Research UK’s Head of Running, based in County Durham, said: “Findlay’s courage and commitment to supporting Cancer Research UK’s life saving work is inspirational. We are very grateful for the time and energy he is devoting to raising money for research.”

Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to beat cancer. Cancer Research UK carries out world-class research to improve understanding of the disease and find out how to prevent, diagnose and treat different kinds of cancer and ensures that its findings are used to improve the lives of all cancer patients. In North East England, Cancer Research UK spends over £3 million on a range of research projects at Newcastle University.

The cost of Findlay’s challenge is being supported by ICI Dulux, where he works as a management consultant.

To help Findlay Young hit his £100,000 fundraising target, you can donate online at the hisJustgiving webpage.


For media enquiries contact: Julia Haran, Cancer Research UK Regional Press Manager, on mobile 07900 137 935 and David Hart, Nova International Director of Communications, on 07771 983688.

About Findlay Young

  • In 2004, Findlay Young ran four half marathons (52.4 miles) in the four countries of the UK in 24-hours, culminating in the BUPA Great North Run. He travelled approximately 1,000 miles non-stop by plane, train, automobile and helicopter to raise £10,000 for Cancer Research UK.
  • In 2005, just four months after he had been diagnosed and treated for cancer for the second time, Findlay made an emotional return the North East to take part in the BUPA Great North Run.

Running for Cancer Research UK at the BUPA Great North Run

  • If you have secured your own place in BUPA Great North Run and have been inspired by Findlay Young to join the Cancer Research UK team, call 0870 162 1622 or visit Cancer Research UK’s Running Site to request a sponsorship pack. All Cancer Research UK runners receive a distinctive T-shirt or vest to wear on the big day.
  • Together with its partners and supporters, Cancer Research UK’s vision is to beat cancer. For further information about Cancer Research UK’s work or to find out how to support the charity, please call 08701 602040 or visit the Cancer Research UK website.

About Nova International and the BUPA Great North Run

  • The BUPA Great North Run is the World’s biggest half marathon, with 50,000 runners
  • The first Great North Run took place on 28th June 1981 with 12,000 runners
  • The course record is 59 minutes 05 seconds set by Zersenay Tadesse in 2005
  • Four hours live coverage on BBC Television from 9.30am to 1.30pm
  • The course starts on the Central Motorway in Newcastle upon Tyne and finishes 13.1 miles later by the coast of South Shields
  • The Great North Run is the brainchild of former Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist Brendan Foster.