Inspirational runner raises money for rugby star Tom Young's wife as she battles illness

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A fitness coach has completed 30 half marathons in a month to raise thousands for the family of former England rugby player Tom Youngs whose wife is battling illness.

Will Findlay, the Leicester Tigers strength and conditioning coach, decided to take on the challenge to help colleague Tom and his wife Tiffany.

Tom Youngs has taken indefinite leave from Leicester Tigers to care for her back home in Norfolk.

In 2014, Tiffany was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, shortly after giving birth to her daughter Maisie.

Treatment proved unsuccessful and she was told her condition was terminal, but then unexpectedly went into remission.

Tom and Tiffany Youngs in 2018 when she had gone into remission Credit: ITV Anglia

But in October Leicester Tigers announced Tom was taking leave to care for Tiffany, who was battling illness again.

The club said it was offering support in all forms to Tom and the Youngs family and he could stay on leave for as long as needed.

Mr Findlay, who went to school in Norfolk, said he wanted to show his support and raise money for charity too.

He said: "I wanted to create something which people can get behind and really show their support for the family, so the family can know there's a lot of people out there for them. Players, staff at the club, people in the wider rugby community and people outside of the rugby community are really getting behind them."

He has travelled all over the country to do his runs.

"As I've come through the challenge and more and more people have got behind and supported, I thought it would be quite nice to go to different places so I've done a couple in Wales where my family is. I live in Llandovery, which was special. I've done a few in Leicester."

But visiting Holt in Norfolk was an incredibly special day for Will when he was joined by the rugby star and members of the Youngs clan, taking in the grounds of Gresham's School. 

Will leads runners at Gresham's School in Holt where Tom and his brother Ben were pupils Credit: Leicester Tigers

Mr Youngs said what Mr Findlay has been doing for his family is helping a lot in what is a very tough time for them.

"All the family has come down and the local rugby club players have come down to support us as a family in a very tough time. I can't thank people enough, I can't thank Will's just very touching and helps a lot," he said.

Mr Findlay said he had been inspired by the reaction to his efforts.

"Another thing that's happened is that people have been messaging me telling me how inspired they've been from my running and now that's actually got them moving, got them running. It's just been unbelievable.

"I've always been fairly fit. I've played rugby myself. However, it's probably been mentally the mentally hardest thing I've done because it's the repetition of every day, you have to go again."

Mr Findlay's initial target was to raise £10,000 after setting up a Just Giving crowdfunding page. That figure has more than doubled over the period to more than £26,000.

"I'm very conscious now that just because my challenge has finished, there's still a family that's going through a terrible terrible time. So I'm very conscious that hopefully the support will continue for the Youngs family and I'm sure it will do."

In the meantime it's a case of resting up for Mr Findlay - but only for a little while: he is back at work with the Tigers the day after his last run finishes.