Billy undertakes 184-mile Thames Path running challenge in memory of his wife – Cancer Research UK

Running just one marathon is a huge achievement. Let alone running seven marathons in seven days.  

Well, that’s exactly what Billy Boyle, a 45-year-old businessman from Cambridge, is planning to do as he sets off tomorrow to run the length of the Thames Path, all to raise vital funds for charities close to his heart.  

While Billy pounds the Thames Path on his gruelling 184-mile challenge, his twin boys Isaac and Oscar, 14, will complete 184 push-ups every day.  

They’ve set up set up the Boyle Boys’ fundraising page, for Cancer Research UK and Street Child in memory of Billy’s wife and the boys’ mum, Kate Gross, who died in 2014 of colon cancer. 

A driving force 

“Kate was diagnosed with late-stage colon cancer in October 2012 and at one point was given the all-clear, but it came back,” said Billy.  

“Despite the best efforts of wonderful doctors and after a lot of treatment, Kate died on Christmas morning 2014.” 

Billy has since combined his passion for running with a determination to raise funds for charity in her memory. 

As well as raising money to fund life-saving research into cancer, the family is fundraising for a charity that was close to Kate’s heart, Street Child, who work with local organisations to ensure every child has access to an education, particularly in low resource environments and emergencies. 

But Kate isn’t just the driving force behind his fundraising, she’s also an important inspiration for Billy’s work. Following her death, his company, Owlstone Medical, has been developing a ‘breathalyser for disease’ – a non-invasive breath test with a goal to detect disease earlier, including cancer and liver disease. 

The biggest challenge yet 

While Billy is no stranger to a challenge, having previously run 100km on one of the hottest days of 2022, this will be his biggest endurance test to date. 

“One of the things I’m most worried about is that many parts of the Thames Path are completely flooded at the moment, so I might have to come up with some alternate marathon routes,” said Billy.  

“I’m also a little bit concerned about picking up an injury along the way. Having run two consecutive marathons over two days, I know what to expect, it’s just whether something goes ‘pop’!” 

He’ll be staying overnight with friends and family en route, and is also hoping people will join him along the way. His progress will be available via a live tracker, which people can view on Billy’s X (formerly Twitter) account @Bily_Boyle. 

“Nearly 1 in 2 of us will get cancer in our lifetime, but if picked up earlier the chances of survival are ten times better,” said Billy. “Cancer Research UK supports the best researchers in the world to help find ways to diagnosis cancer sooner and save lives.” 

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