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Thetford airman ran 100 miles in support of friend suffering from rare cancer

PUBLISHED: 09:51 04 January 2018 | UPDATED: 10:12 04 January 2018

Dave Barstow, left, raised over £800 for his friend Kimber Whitehead. Photo: Dave Barstow/Kimber Whitehead

Dave Barstow, left, raised over £800 for his friend Kimber Whitehead. Photo: Dave Barstow/Kimber Whitehead

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An Honington airman took on the Christmas challenge of running more than 100 miles in support of a friend diagnosed with a rare form of stage 3 breast cancer.

Miss Whitehead struggled with the costs of her illness, such as heating her home and set up a fundraising page to help her with the expenses. Photo: Kimber WhiteheadMiss Whitehead struggled with the costs of her illness, such as heating her home and set up a fundraising page to help her with the expenses. Photo: Kimber Whitehead

Dave Barstow, 35, from Thetford, ran the 100.7 mile distance from Thetford to North Walsham in just over 36 hours.

He was inspired to push himself to the limit after his sister-in-law’s boyfriend’s sister, Kimber Whitehead, was diagnosed with the disease in August 2017.

Miss Whitehead struggled with the costs of her illness, such as heating her home in Buckingham.

She set up a fundraising page to help her with the expenses.

Mr Barstow ran through the night, starting at midnight on December 29, and finishing at 1pm on December 31. Photo: Dave BarstowMr Barstow ran through the night, starting at midnight on December 29, and finishing at 1pm on December 31. Photo: Dave Barstow

She described Mr Barstow’s challenge as heroic.

Mr Barstow said: “I ran from Thetford to Hunstanton, and from Hunstanton to North Walsham, via Cromer.

“It was just over 100 miles.”

He added: “I do like to push myself. Last year I ran 24 Thetford park runs in 24 hours.

Mr Barstow's got three hours sleep on his 36 hour run - most of which was in an underpass where he sheltered from the rain. Photo: Dave BarstowMr Barstow's got three hours sleep on his 36 hour run - most of which was in an underpass where he sheltered from the rain. Photo: Dave Barstow

“I was popping painkillers at the end of this run because I’d just hit a wall.

“I had about three hours sleep in 36 hours and at one point I was running through the rain and just swaying from side to side.

“I thought I was going to fall over so I had to find an underpass and grab two hours sleep.

“But it was great to help Kimber raise over £800.”

Mr Barstow set off on his run at midnight on Friday, December 29, and finished at 1pm on Saturday, December 31.

Miss Whitehead said: “He’s the hero of the story here.

“It’s just amazing considering the conditions he did it in.”

She added: “We told him to do it in the new year when the weather would be better, but he was adamant.

“He started in running boots but he got stuck in a bog, and had to change his shoes. He started his run after having flu and no sleep.

“He really took it on at a difficult time for him.

“We thought he would raise £100 but he’s raised nearly £700.

“Another friend of Dave’s has brain cancer and he even donated some money to me.

“It was really humbling to see what people will do for someone.”

Miss Whitehead has completed several rounds of chemotherapy, and is due to have surgery on her tumours early this year.

She credited the support of her friends and family, including her 14-year-old daughter, Sarah-Michelle Thompson, with helping her keep her spirits up.

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