Michael Runs for Macmillan Cancer Support

Michael Runs for Macmillan Cancer Support

Michael Dobson takes on the 52 in 52 challenge in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Michael Dobson is no stranger to extreme endurance challenges, and for that matter, the discipline and dedication needed to complete them.

The 37-year-old, who retired from a decade-long career in professional football because of a chronic knee problem in 2008, might have been forgiven for wanting to take things easy after his playing days ended.

That, however, could not be further from the truth.

Fast forward 10-and-a-half-years and the former Brentford and Walsall full-back has not slowed down physically, in the slightest. In fact, he is arguably pushing his body harder than ever.

Participation in the 2012 London Marathon - a lifelong dream he was previously unable to realise due to his football commitments - was the catalyst for what has become an enduring endurance bug.

From there, it would be apt to say it has been a rapid snowball effect - with most of the challenges that have followed dwarfing the famous 26.2 mile distance.

In 2018, Dobbo - the nickname which has stuck since his football days - ran 12 quick half-marathons in as many months.

For most people, that is some going and a gruelling effort - but he personally felt he had to do more and put his body through the ringer tenfold to keep up his money-raising efforts.

And, that is exactly what he is doing again all for Macmillan Cancer Support - a charity and cause very close to his heart.

Back in 2007, Michael's father, George - a former professional footballer too - sadly lost his battle with cancer aged just 58. The tragic loss, of course, affected the family hugely and still does to this day.

It remains the sheer driving force behind Michael's desire to not only secure vital funds to tackle cancer, but by running in his dad's memory, it is his way of remembering the man who was not only his father, but biggest influence in his life and on his career in sport.

Enter '52 in 52'.

 

This year, Dobbo is running 52 half-marathon events in as many weeks and is already well into the swing of things.

"Last year wasn't crazy enough, I had to go one step further. Over time, people expect me to do crazy things and it makes them more inclined to donate. So, I thought, 'let's do a half-marathon every week in 2019'!.

"Little did I know at the time how difficult it was going to be to actually find 52 events and accommodate the needs of my young family, as well as the travel logistics," he said.

Luckily, with roots on the South Coast, it was therefore a no-brainer for Dobbo to sign up and'Do the Double' by entering into both the ABP Southampton Half-Marathon in May and Winchester Half Marathon in September.

"I've got family in Bournemouth and whenever I get the opportunity, I travel South," he added.

"Doing both of the events is great because my whole family can spend the weekend on the coast, and with the Southampton race falling on the Bank Holiday weekend, it's just perfect.

"Southampton and Winchester are two lovely places to run and I'm really looking forward to taking part.

"There's obviously lots of races to go before then that I just want to get done but I'm especially excited about these two as it will be easy for my family to be there and watch it all."

Training-wise, Dobbo is running 3-4 times each week in-between his half-marathon events, but also has to allow time for recovery. Indeed, his latest running mission is no mean feat at all - when, in all due respect, his legs have had to cope with their fair share of mileage, as well as wear and tear, over the years.

"I have arthritis in both knees and it makes it very difficult. Sufficient rest is very important, otherwise my knees just balloon and I won't be ready for the following weekend!

"My challenge is in its early days at the moment and I've got a long way to go, but I'm excited for what the next few months will bring."

Please visit Dobbo's fundraising page, donate to his cause and keep track of his progress: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/challenge52in52.

By Stuart Appleby Twitter: @Stuart_Appleby Website: www.marathonrunningtraining.com

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