Jonnie to run 12 marathons for his mum

Jonnie Odgers. INPT30-041
Jonnie Odgers. INPT30-041

A Birches man who set himself a challenge of running 12 marathons in 12 months in memory of his mum is on course to achieve his goal in just six months.

Jonnie Odgers is aiming to raise money and awareness of the charity, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke, after his mum Rowena died suddenly of a heart condition last March, aged 59.

The 35-year-old has already completed four marathons since April - Connemara, Belfast, Derry and Waterford - and has the remainder mapped out.

Next on his radar are four runs in four days, as he takes part in the Quadrathon Challenge on the Inishowen Peninsula, Donegal, from August 13-16.

Jonnie, who works in Almac as a distribution supervisor, will finish with marathons on the Causeway Coast, Monaghan, Donegal and, finally, Dublin, on October 26.

By this stage he will have clocked up a total of 315 miles.

In fact, the Dublin marathon will be Jonnie’s 23rd, but this 12-marathon challenge is particularly close to his heart, following his mother’s death from a myocardial abscess which came “out of the blue”.

He said, “Mum had been in hospital after her bowel burst but she had come home and was doing well again.

“She had never had heart problems before but she passed way suddenly in her sleep.”

In fact, 50 per cent of all adult deaths in Northern Ireland are caused by chest, heart or stroke illness, and 202,208 people are living with a chest, heart or stroke condition.

Jonnie, who has been pounding the roads around the Birches as part of his training, has received invaluable support from wife LeeAnne, dad John and brothers Red and Michael, along with friends and work colleagues.

He is aiming to raise around £500 which will be used to fund the vital work of Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke, and has thanked everyone for their support.

Anyone wishing to donate can do so by logging onto and following the instructions.