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Community / Shetlander to run ‘seven in seven’ for dad with MND

Jeff Dobson will tackle the seven in seven challenge this October. Photo: Jeff Dobson

RUNNING a half marathon is no mean feat – never mind the seven in one week that Jeff Dobson is aiming for.

He was inspired to do the ‘seven in seven’ for his dad, Tony, who was recently diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) – and so far he has raised more than £3,000.

MND is a progressive condition which affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord. It can lead to weakened muscles and there is currently no cure.

Awareness of the illness has increased recently as Scottish rugby union player Doddie Weir passed away from MND in 2022.

“Dad was diagnosed with MND in March this year,” Jeff told Shetland News. “It’s something I’ve been aware of through following rugby with Doddie Weir and Rob Burrow, and the work that Kevin Sinfield’s done.

“Me and my wife have done Doddie Aid in the past…I kind of followed it, I have Doddie’s books and I got Rob Burrow’s books before dad’s diagnosis.

“When I found out it was a lot closer to home, I just wanted to try and do my bit to raise awareness and funds.”

A keen rugby fan himself, Jeff turned to another legend of the sport for inspiration.

“I was thinking of ideas, and obviously Kevin Sinfield did his seven in seven, I’m aware the MND Association were promoting that, so I felt it was a good one,” he said.

“I did think doing seven full marathons would be a bit much…I’m not a massive runner so I felt half marathons would be a pretty big challenge for me. The bigger the challenge the more likely to raise awareness and funds, so it felt like a good challenge to set on.”

Despite the fundraiser launching less than two weeks ago, Jeff has already surpassed his original goal of £2,500.

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“It was amazing,” he said. “We hit over £2,000 in under two days, which is fantastic to raise that money and have that support.

“Dad’s powering me doing this and he’s been taking pride in seeing the donations come in. It’s good and hopefully it can continue to build up, raise even more.”

Jeff’s challenge will kick off in Glasgow on 6 October later this year. The other half marathons will be completed between sailing clubs back in Shetland, where he hopes to clock in some extra miles to reach 100 over the course of the week.

“When I was also looking at it then seeing that the Great Scottish Run is in Glasgow in October, which is a half marathon, it just then all seemed to tie in,” Jeff said. “With it being in October, I wanted to start now and just start doing the fundraising, so it all fitted in.”

With five months of training ahead, he has already started to prepare:

“I’d say over the last month and a bit, that I’ve just tried to start and ramp up training. The biggest challenge is probably going to be the recovery and as the legs get more tired each run’s going to get harder.

“A big focus will be on trying to get the recovery done and doing multiple runs over multiple days.”

Donations can be made on Jeff’s Give as You Live page.

The money raised will be split between MND Scotland, MND Association, Crohn’s and Colitis UK and Prostate Cancer UK, as Tony is also living with Crohn’s and cancer.

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