Mixed emotions for Alnwick woman Charlotte Watson - first person to cross Macmillan Mighty Hike finish line
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Charlotte Watson, 34, completed the full marathon on Saturday, which started at Alnwick Castle and ended at Bamburgh Castle, taking in the beautiful beaches and fishing villages of the Northumberland Coast along the way.
She said: “I found out that my cousin had died from a brain tumour whilst I was actually on this walk, which was devastating, but I was determined to finish strongly which is probably why I crossed the finish line first.
Charlotte’s mum has also been diagnosed with lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, and is having a stem cell transplant soon.
She added: “Cancer affects all of us in one way or another, and Macmillan is a fantastic charity that helps all those affected by it, so I was determined to finish the Northumberland Mighty Hike in recognition of this charity’s great work.”
Charlotte has raised more than the minimum pledge of £250, and participants can continue to receive donations for fundraising until a month after the event. To donate to her fundraising campaign, visit her JustGiving
Around 2,500 people braved the elements on Saturday, which was a day of severe thunderstorms and showers, and a further 850 took part in the half marathon Mighty Hike on Sunday.
This year has been the first time the shorter option has been staged and in total, 3,350 people took on the challenges over the two days, significantly more than last year.
A Macmillan fundraising manager for the North East, Sarah Goldiem said: "Our heart goes out to Charlotte and her family what an amazing and generous achievement to complete the Mighty Hike under such difficult circumstances.
At this time of cost-of-living crisis, the services of support, physical emotional and financial that we offer all those affected by cancer have never been needed more. We are so grateful to all those who take on the challenge and raise vital funds to help ensure more people with cancer get the care and support they need, when they need it most."
Macmillan Cancer Support Senior Challenge events programme manager, Lauren Sanders, said: “Macmillan Cancer Support is incredibly grateful to the 3,350 people who took part in the breathtakingly beautiful but physically challenging Northumberland Coastal Mighty Hikes at the weekend.
“The 30,000 people who are taking part in Macmillan Mighty Hikes this summer are part of something very special. Every penny raised at a Mighty Hike will help Macmillan to provide vital emotional, physical and financial support for people living with cancer, who need it now more than ever.
“Our waiting list is open for the Northumberland Coastal Mighty Hike 2024 and there are still some places available at a small number of our other Macmillan Mighty Hikes this summer, so sign up now at mightyhikes.macmillan.org.uk.”
For information, support or just someone to talk to, call the Macmillan Cancer Support helpline on 0808 8080000.