John Burkhill, known affectionately in the running world as the Mad Man with a Pram, is gearing up for next weekend’s Asda Foundation Leeds 10K and a significant milestone for the 79-year-old. The Run For All event will represent his 1000th race.
John had originally intended to reach this figure at Sheffield Half Marathon but it looks like the record will now be set alongside 7,000 others next Sunday (8 July). Since embarking on his racing adventure, which began in 1967 and has included 16 London Marathons, John has been raising money for MacMillan Cancer Support – a charity very close to his heart after the sad passing of his wife, June, in 1992.
Thereafter, John has become a highly recognisable and popular figure on the circuit and has travelled all over the UK in his famous green wig, pushing his pram and raising money for the charity.
The Leeds event will be key to reaching his fundraising target, as he explains: “I have raised money for a handful of charities but my mission is to raise £1m for MacMillan Cancer Support. The way they looked after my wife was special.
“I've picked up some big cheques from lots of big organisations over the years. But what matters to me is the money that goes in pram from every day people. And it is safe to say that these people have raised somewhere between £500,000 and £750,000. Thank you so much everyone."
The Asda Foundation Leeds 10K is one of the central events in the Run For All calendar. It boasts a speedy course that takes runners from Vicar Lane towards Call Lane and Sovereign Street, along Wellington Street and out along Kirkstall Road. Participants will then return into town back along Kirkstall Road and continue into the city to finish outside Leeds Town Hall on The Headrow.
Registration for the 10k remains open.