Runner of the Week: Craig Sykes to carry 14kg of kit during Cork City Marathon

Each week, Denise O'Donoghue profiles one of the runners taking part in the ‘Irish Examiner’ Cork City marathon this June

Soldier Craig Sykes will take part in the Irish Examiner Cork City Marathon to raise money for his cousin’s daughter.

“I’m running the marathon this year to help raise funds and awareness for my cousin’s baby daughter Heidi Patterson. Heidi is currently living in Manchester with her family but all Sinead’s family are based in Cork,” Craig says.

“Heidi is 20 months old and suffers from cerebral palsy. She’s registered blind and has a moderate hearing loss due to lack of oxygen. Heidi will have to be cared for 24 hours a day for the rest of her life and I am hoping to help with the care of baby Heidi in any little way I can.”

Craig, 27, said Heidi’s progress will be shared on Facebook.

“A lot of us don’t realise how lucky we are to be able to do everyday things and all funds raised will go to help Heidi have some sort of normal life. Donations can be made online to the ‘Heidi Patterson’s Journey’ Facebook page, where donors can see exactly where their funds go.”

Craig, who is based in the Artillery Corp in Collins Barracks, will run the marathon in uniform as well as an additional 14kg of kit, despite having never taken part in a full marathon before.

“I have not attempted a marathon before. I have completed two half marathons and been a member of two relay teams in the Cork City Marathon previously but never the full marathon.

“Before deciding on this challenge to complete the marathon in uniform and 14kg of kit I was never really into running.

“Once I decided to take on this challenge, my cousin Robert O’Shea helped me with training and tips.”

Craig, from Blarney, hopes to complete the course in six hours.

“It’s hard to aim for a time as it will be interesting to see how the body goes on the day but anywhere under six hours would be great.”

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