Some people find turning 40 difficult, but a Gayton man is choosing to mark his milestone with a “year of pain” to raise money in memory of his father.
Andrew Howell will be celebrating his 40th birthday tomorrow with a 15-mile run as he gets ready for five physical challenges during the coming months.
He has secured places for the Adidas Silverstone half marathon, the London Marathon, Grand East Anglian Run, the 100 mile Prudential Ride London and the Spartan Super Obstacle Race.
And he may be increasing this list throughout the year.
Mr Howell was inspired to take on this string of challenges to raise £1,500 for Bowel Cancer UK in memory of his late father Neville, who died aged 78 in 2009 after a short battle against the condition.
Mr Howell said: “I wanted to do something and this is a nice way to honour Dad.
“When I was 20 I was in hospital with a blood clot on my lung and it nearly killed me. I remember feeling sorry for myself and telling Dad that I was never going to make it to 40 and he said I would.
“As he’s not around now, I thought this would be a way to say ‘yes you were right’.”
Mr Howell will be kicking off his challenging year with a 13 mile run around the Silverstone race course on Sunday, March 2.
This will be followed on Sunday, April 13 with London Marathon, an event Mr Howell has always wanted to tackle.
Mr Howell, who has battled back to fitness after having knee surgery in August 2012, said: “Ever since the early 80s I’ve watched it on television and thought I’d love to do it and now after five attempts I’ve finally got the chance and I don’t want to blow it.”
Weeks after running 26 miles around London, Mr Howell will be taking on the 10km GEAR run around Lynn on Sunday, May 4.
Three months later he will be hopping on his bike for a 100 mile bike ride around London and Surrey.
And finally on Sunday, August 31, Mr Howell will be tackling the 13km Spartan obstacle course in Nutley, Sussex.
He said: “I think the toughest one will be the Spartan as it is cross country and obstacle racing with a lot of crawling through mud.”
Mr Howell’s training is now well underway and he is pleased with his progress.
He said: “So far, it’s so good. I’ve had some really successful runs.”
Bowel cancer is the third most common type of cancer in England.
Symptoms range from bleeding, unexplained weight loss or pain or a lump in the stomach.
Mr Howell, who is married to Hope and is stepfather to Ashleigh, said: “This is a cause which is close to my heart and affects a lot of people throughout the country.
“There is a lot of stigma as people don’t like to talk about that kind of thing.
“I really want to try and do something to raise awareness of the disease and hopefully the money will help with treatment or supporting other families.
“Most people dread turning 40 but I am looking forward to it.”
To support Mr Howell during his Year of Pain go to his fundraising website: www.oneyearofpain.co.uk