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Thurso man has trio of marathons in his sights for ShelterBox charity

By John Davidson

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A Thurso Rotarian is hoping to “go out with a bang” when he steps down as president this summer – by running a trio of marathons.

Derek Sinclair is the current president of the Thurso Rotary Club and is lacing up his trainers to raise money for international disaster relief charity ShelterBox.

The 51-year-old store manager will kick-start his challenge at the Inverness Half Marathon in March before taking on the London Marathon the following month and then the Edinburgh Marathon in May.

Derek Sinclair is taking on a Trilogy of Hope – running three marathons to raise funds for disaster relief charity ShelterBox.
Derek Sinclair is taking on a Trilogy of Hope – running three marathons to raise funds for disaster relief charity ShelterBox.

The Trilogy of Hope, as it has been named, aims to raise £1000 – enough to buy five earthquake kits ¬- to help support people around the world who have been left without shelter after disaster.

ShelterBox is currently working in Gaza and Ukraine, as well as a number of other locations hit by natural and manmade disasters, to help those affected by war.

Derek said: “I’d already signed up for the other two races when I heard I’d got a place in the London marathon – I’ve been entering the ballot since 2012! So, I thought, what a great challenge and decided I’d do all three for a purpose.

“Despite being a fair-weather runner for years I’d recently taken some time out, but I’m back to training and enjoying the process, despite the very snowy and wet conditions throwing my schedule a little.

“I generally go out training first thing in the morning; a challenge in itself to get out of my warm comfy bed to face the cold temperatures. The middle two weeks in January were certainly a challenge, battling hailstones driven by 45mph gusts of wind along snowy and icy roads and pavements. But it’s surprising how quickly you stop thinking about the cold and get into the ‘zone’.

“My wife will be supporting me at each event, along with my two grown-up sons. It’ll be great to see their faces around the course for a boost to keep me going, and of course at the finish line.”

The challenge marks Derek’s final six months as president of Thurso Rotary Club, of which he has been a member since January 2018.

Derek added: “I’ll be stepping down as Thurso Rotary president this summer, and I suppose I wanted to go out with a bang and raise money for a cause which is close to my heart.

“ShelterBox is one of the main charities we support across Rotary International. It stands out for its immediate and practical response to disasters, providing families with emergency shelter and tools, giving them the means to rebuild and recover.”

The Cornwall-based charity, founded in 2000, has supported over 2.5 million people across 100 countries with different combinations of emergency shelter, support, and essential household items. The charity relies entirely on public donations to fund its work and currently has 12 active responses across the world, including Gaza, Ukraine, Yemen, and Burkina Faso.

Rotary engagement officer at ShelterBox, Fiona Turner, said: “To run one marathon is impressive enough but the three long runs Derek is taking on is a sign of grit and determination.

“Rotary International has been with ShelterBox from the start and we’ve been official project partners since 2012. It’s an incredibly valuable partnership which allows us to collaborate and combine resources, ultimately helping us reach more people and support more communities in desperate need of shelter after disaster.

“We are extremely grateful to all our supporters who give up their own time to fundraise and take on challenges to help support people they’ll likely never meet.”

ShelterBox has launched an urgent fundraising appeal as it confirms responding in Gaza. Working alongside Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), the charity is set to support thousands of people with emergency shelter aid to help people survive wet and cold weather, and items like blankets, mattresses, and kitchen sets.

The charity also continues to work in Pakistan, supporting thousands of people who have been affected by severe monsoon flooding which hit the country in 2022 - a disaster which has affected more than 33 million people.

To donate to Derek’s fundraising challenge, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/derek-sinclair

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