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2017

Kenny to take on poignant marathon run

15 March 2017

An Abertay University academic who broke down in tears during a poignant marathon attempt is preparing to take on his next challenge.

Kenny McAlpine will run the London Marathon in April in memory of his father George and best man David, who died from bowel cancer and a brain bleed respectively in 2012.

It is the first time in years the Abertay computer games music expert has felt emotionally able to take on a charity run, after the 2013 Edinburgh Marathon took a severe mental and physical toll.

The 42-year-old will now compete in the London race for the Brain Research Trust – a cause doubly close to his heart after his daughter Iona was rushed into intensive care as a newborn in 2010.

Doctors diagnosed a serious neurological condition when Iona was about a week old, but although she pulled through, the paediatric consultant wasn’t able to identify the cause.

Kenny and his family were left with an uncertain period wondering if there would be any long-lasting consequences, but six years on Iona is a normal, happy little girl and that difficult time seems to be behind them.

Originally from Airdrie, Kenny said he had initially taken up running as a "concrete way" of showing his father he cared, following a cancer diagnosis in 2011.

“As a wee boy from the west of Scotland who doesn’t speak much about feelings or emotions or anything like that, it’s really difficult to go up to your dad and say, I love you. This was my way of showing dad how much he meant to me,” he said.

“In training for the Edinburgh Half Marathon in April 2012 I was feeling confident and was able to run longer and longer distances.

“Then out of the blue we got a call to say my best man David had died suddenly of a brain bleed.

“He was only 37 and had just complained of not feeling well, gone to sit down and slumped and collapsed.

“It really knocked us all back.”

Just a few months after the Edinburgh Half Marathon, Kenny’s dad passed away, the day after his own wedding anniversary.

Despite the double loss, the next year the father-of-two, who now lives in Wormit, Fife, took on the full Edinburgh Marathon 2013.

“Running 26 miles rather than 13 is a completely different thing,” said Kenny.

“As I was heading back through Prestonpans towards the finishing line everything ached and I was surviving on raw mental energy alone.

“Every now and then I would get these waves of emotion where I would remember dad or David.

“I was running and laughing and crying all at the same time, and I’m sure that all the people on the street were pointing at me, but somehow I managed to get to the end of the race and just broke down and sobbed.

“It was a really mixed bag of emotions and it took so much out of me that it was the last year I did any kind of serious fundraising.”

Kenny’s past two efforts raised a combined £6,200 and he has already smashed his target for the London Marathon.

He said students and staff at Abertay have been “tremendously generous”.

“Students I haven’t seen for 15 years have been sending messages of support and throwing money in. It’s been really life-affirming.

“It has taken me until now to properly get through the grieving process.

“This feels like the first time I have been able to celebrate them rather that commemorate them.”

With the help of his students, Kenny plans to host charity events, games jams and concerts to boost his total.

He is aiming for a time of 3 hours and 50 minutes but said he would be happy with anything under four hours.

To sponsor Kenny visit http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/KennyRunsLondon2017

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