Stephen Dowds is running races for charity - and has no plans to slow down.
The Lurgan native has been raising funds for meningitis research for about fifteen years, following his son’s diagnosis with the illness at the age of two and a half.
His son, Timothy, is now 21 years old and Stephen is more committed than ever to supporting the cause. Having donned his running shoes a few years ago, he’s definitely going the extra mile for charity.
“I started running about three and a half years ago,” Stephen explained.
“I started going to the gym about five years ago and heard a couple of members talking about a Craigavon 10K. I set my sights on the run and raised £600 for it.”
After his debut on the road Stephen gradually raised the bar higher, running the relay in the Belfast Marathon before running the entire marathon the following year.
“My wife and I have always raised money for meningitis and my mum, Mary, has been fighting cancer for about three years now, so I’ve been running for both causes,” Stephen said. “I did the full Belfast marathon last year and raised £600 for each cause - Meningitis Research NI and Cancer Research UK. A friend of mine then said to me, “We’ll enter the London marathon!” We applied but only I got through! We managed to raise £2,800 - £1,400 for each charity - which was great.”
Stephen is not slacking in between marathons, either, frequently participating in 10K races as well as half marathons.
“I’m planning on doing another half marathon in three or four weeks,” Stephen shared. “There’s a good clique of us who run together quite regularly. My gym, Skye Fitness, put together training programmes for me and I train six days a week - getting up at 5:30am some mornings to run.
“I’d like to thank my wife, Annette, for standing by me, and family and friends for their support. Skye Fitness have been fantastic, and I’ve formed a great bond with the runners I do most of my training with - Gavin, Natalie, Kelly, Michael, Diane, Siobhan and Ellen. The Mechanics Institute deserve a special thanks - probably more than £1,200 of the £2,800 raised this year was raised in there!”