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This BLOG is dedicated to two outstanding men, who have just completed marathon efforts, both literal and metaphorical, in supporting very important causes.
Their names are Paul Hogan (above) and Phil Burdekin. The former is a publisher of various industry titles, including those of ACI Europe as well as the excellent show dailies at the duty free exhibitions in Fort Lauderdale, Singapore and Cannes.
The latter is The Moodie Report’s overworked travel agent from Flight Centre in Wimbledon, a man who manages to somehow keep The Moodie Report Publisher headed where he is meant to be heading during his almost non-stop travel schedule.
BLOG readers will remember that Paul ran the London Marathon last year (the picture shows him at the finishing line) in a successful effort to raise US$35,000 for Children with Leukaemia, a cause very close to his heart as Paul’s then eight-year-old daughter Bronte had been struck down with a rare strain of the disease in September 2006.
As we noted at the time, the Hogans are made of strong stuff – Dad completed the 26-mile run in just over four hours and Bronte began to bounce back towards full health.
A year on, Paul was preparing to run the event again, once more in support of the same cause. But suddenly it took on added urgency, and added poignancy – Bronte (now 9) had been taken seriously ill again and is undergoing intensive chemotherapy and radiotherapy and has to have a bone marrow transplant. As a result daughter and parents are living in London’s Royal Marsden Hospital.
“I was not looking to raise much money this time but in light of these developments I have decided to go for big cash again,” Paul wrote to us.
Well Paul completed the marathon, this time in 3 hours and 52 minutes, raising nearly £10,000 in the process. Hogan’s heroes are coming through again – just like Bronte will.
And what about our trusty travel agent in Wimbledon? Instead of generating air miles as usual, Phil was so moved by our publicity for The Smile Train – the world’s leading children’s cleft charity – that he decided to post some land miles and run the Paris Marathon to help fund the charity’s incredible work around the world.
Despite injuring his knee in training for the event (not exactly ideal preparation for a marathon), Phil completed the job at hand in a more than respectable 4 hours, 41 minutes and 28 seconds. He’s pictured crossing the line below (sorry for the picture quality, apparently he was moving so fast the shutter speed could not keep up).
As a result he has raised almost £2,000 for The Smile Train. “In real terms,” Phil says, “this means that 16 children will have a life-changing operation.”
And listen to this, from a man who battled through the pain barrier: “There were times throughout the race when the thought of these kids kept me going and helped me ignore any potential pain barriers. After all, 4 hours and 41 minutes of effort really is nothing compared to what they go through on a daily basis.”
So there you have it. Two men, two milestones, two inspirational causes. To misquote the title of the fine British novel by Alan Sillitoe, it’s a case of the Loveliness of the Long Distance Runners.