Everton coach puts rivalry aside to take on marathon challenge for brother

Video report by Andrew Fletcher

One of Everton’s backroom team is to run a ‘marathon of marathons’ to support the charity helping his brother following his cancer diagnosis.

Jack Dowling, who is the Blue's performance coach, is taking on the gruelling challenge to run 26 marathons in 26 weeks to raise money and awareness for Macmillan.

The cancer charity is currently supporting his Liverpool-supporting brother Tom, who has been diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer.

Jack Dowling is preparing to run 26 marathons in 26 weeks, to raise money for Macmillan

Over the next six months, Jack Dowling will run just under 700 miles, the equivalent of the distance between Liverpool and Berlin.

He'll start at Merchant Taylors’ in Crosby on Sunday 22nd October and finish next April at the London Marathon on the Mall.

He's got the backing of Everton FC and plans to schedule runs around his matchday duties to showcase the invaluable support provided by Macmillan.

Jack's aiming to raise £32,250 - an amount that would fund a Macmillan nurse for six months.

The charity has been supporting his brother Tom since his diagnosis in 2022.

Over the last 18 months, Tom has had an intense course of treatment and says the role Macmillan has played in supporting him and his family has been vital.

Jack Dowling and his older brother Tom Credit: Family photo

The 36-year-old said: “When I unfortunately got the diagnosis from the consultant the MacMillan nurse was in that consultation at the same time, so immediately they started with nurses, support workers, giving the information I might need immediately, giving the information I might need further down the line.”

For Tom, the extent of the support on offer was far in excess of what he had expected and the ease with which he could access it was important as he dealt with such difficult news.

This included the opportunity to access counselling services - an option he initially used and believes is an important part of the help available.

“My head was a mess, I have got to be honest”, Tom said of the aftermath of his diagnosis. “My head was a mess when I first got it, and with some of the things I had to go through at my age I needed to go and talk to someone.”

Jack has already amassed some celebrity backing, and not just from the Everton team.

And he'll be getting plenty of support from the Everton players - who are hoping to join him on sections of the run

Before he sets off on his first marathon, there's the small matter of the Merseyside derby. Both brothers will be taking their seats at Anfield - Jack on the away benches and Liverpool-supporting Tom in the home section.

For Macmillan, the awareness that will be raised through Jack''s efforts is also valuable.

Nicole McIlveen, the charity’s Merseyside fundraising manager said: “We wish Jack the best of luck for his incredible challenge, which will help us support other families affected by cancer.

"Macmillan is almost entirely funded through donations from our supporters, and we can only be there for people thanks to the fantastic efforts of fundraisers like Jack. Cancer is not going anywhere, and Macmillan is needed now more than ever.”

To support Jack, you can visit his fundraising page here.

You can follow his progress here.

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