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Four marathons in four days to help MS sufferers

An English teacher is set to run four marathons in four Korean cities over four days to raise cash to help people suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.

Joseph Riley set himself the 4IN4 mission to raise 2 million won for the Korean Multiple Sclerosis Society. He will run the first 42-kilometer stretch in Seoul on Sept. 10 before running the same distance in Busan the next day. He will then move on to Daegu before finishing in his current home turf of Daejeon on Sept. 13.
Joe Riley completes a previous run in Korea.
Joe Riley completes a previous run in Korea.

The 23-year-old from Southampton in England decided to take on the epic challenge after hearing about a friend’s fund raising group, Making Miles.

The group encourages people to cycle, walk or run to raise sponsorship cash in support of KMSS, which supports sufferers of the disease in Korea.

“Our inspiration to help the KMSS stems from my mother’s Multiple Sclerosis,” said Shawn Hudson, who runs the Making Miles group. “She’s had it for nearly 30 years, now, and my theory is that regardless of what source you’re donating to, a donation to any MS charity is helpful to MS patients around the world.”

“It is quite sad because MS doesn’t seem to get diagnosed so quickly here because there is some stigma surrounding it,” Riley added. “That means that a lot of Korean sufferers do not get the treatment they need.”

Riley said he got the idea to take on the four-marathon challenge after watching British comedian Eddie Izzard’s “Marathon Man” TV series, in which the comic ran 1,000 miles ― 43 consecutive marathons ― around the U.K.

“I couldn’t imagine doing something on that scale, when I watched it at first I thought it was insane. When I started running more, I thought it would be fun to something like it.”

Riley has already run two marathons this year one in March in Jeju, and on in April in Gimju.

“I have been doing quite a lot of running this year, but I only took up long distance running when I came to Korea,” he said. “I have run two marathons so far this year but I couldn’t really walk after having done them so I am a little nervous about doing four so close together.”

The marathoner said he will be eating and drinking as much as possible to keep his energy up and will be taking a paddling pool with him to soothe his aching feet between each run.

Since there are no organized marathons over the Chuseok holiday period that Riley is using to complete his mission, he is setting his own routes, mostly along rivers, in the cities he is visiting.

Riley is calling out to runners from the four cities he will visit to join him for segments of this marathon routes as well as to wait at the finish line for a daily post-race celebration.

“I will have pace makers running along with me, and I hope that people will join me even for one or two miles to help me along the way. I hope I will always have people running alongside me but if it starts to rain a lot I could end up on my own. If people want to donate to the cause that is great, but it’s up to them, it is also about raising awareness too.

“We will have a little celebration at the finish line each day, with an opportunity for people to say hello and perhaps make a donation.”

Riley is also hoping to find someone able to drive him from Daegu to Daejon on Sept. 12.

Details and route maps will be updated frequently on the 4IN4 Facebook fan page. Contact 4in4marathon@gmail.com for more information or to make a donation, or go to www.makingmiles.com.

For more information on MS support in Korea go to: www.kmss.or.kr.

By Kirsty Taylor (kirstyt@heraldcorp.com)
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