Selby Runner Takes on 50th Birthday Challenge for Yorkshire Cancer Research

26 January 2017

A TRAIL runner from Selby will celebrate his 50th birthday by tackling 500 miles of gruelling terrain to raise money for Yorkshire Cancer Research.

James Middlebrook, who lost his first wife Lynne to cervical cancer in 2002, will complete a series of some of the country’s toughest trail running events throughout 2017.

The 49-year-old is hoping to raise at least £1,500 for Yorkshire Cancer Research, a charity that his mother Pam has supported for many years.

James began running in 2005 after a friend bet him £50 that he couldn’t complete the Great North Run, a half marathon that takes place in Newcastle every year. 

James had struggled with his weight following Lynne’s death, reaching 18 stone at his heaviest, but he took on the challenge and managed to complete the 13.2 mile course. Running has since become a huge part of James’ life, contributing to both his physical and mental wellbeing, but he found his true passion after taking up off-road races.

James Middlebrook is taking on 500 miles of gruelling terrain to raise money for Yorkshire Cancer Research, in celebration of his 50th birthday

James, who has two children with his second wife Kate, said: “I was supposed to be taking part in the Edinburgh Marathon in 2013, but I got injured and I couldn’t complete the full distance. Instead, I entered the Kielder Marathon and when I crossed the finish line I wondered why on earth I had been running on tarmac for so long when I could have been enjoying beautiful countryside.

“I’ve since taken part in four of the Hardmoor Series marathons at Saltburn, Goathland, Roseberry Topping and Rosedale, and in October I completed my first 50 mile event – the Round Rotherham Run. I now regularly run marathon distances for fun, so I decided to really go for it this year and take on a whole series of challenges. There will be tears, tantrums and injuries, but it will be worth it.”

James has already completed the Hardmoors 30 event, which began and ended at Robin Hood’s Bay on New Year’s Day, and will take part in the Waterway 30 in Retford, Nottinghamshire this Saturday, January 28. His biggest challenge of the year will be the Hardmoors 55, which involves running across extremely challenging terrain. 

James endeavours to fit as much training as possible into his day-to-day life, often running to and from his job as manager of the family business, Mackinder Farms Holiday Accommodation, in Brayton.  

He added: “I find running good for the soul. When I’m running, there’s nothing to distract me, and I can make sense of all the thoughts in my head. I’m glad to be able to combine something I love to do with raising money for a cause that’s close to my heart. I’m a proud Yorkshire man too and I’m happy that the money will go to a charity that’s working to improve cancer outcomes in our county.”




Nikki Brady, Senior PR Officer, Yorkshire Cancer Research. Tel: 01423 877228. Email:

Notes to Editors

  • Harrogate-based Yorkshire Cancer Research was founded in 1925 and is the largest independent regional cancer charity in England (Registered Charity 516898). We are not part of a national charity.
  • We are committed to reducing the devastating impact of cancer on the lives of people living in Yorkshire.
  • Our mission is to work in partnership, fund research and support initiatives that will help people in Yorkshire avoid, survive and cope with cancer.
  • Current statistics show that 575 people are diagnosed with cancer in Yorkshire every week. Incidence and mortality rates are higher than the England average due to social deprivation, post-industrialisation and lifestyle choices but also availability of healthcare services and difficulties accessing early diagnostics, clinical trials and the latest treatments.
  • We aim to:
    • Be the leading authority on cancer in Yorkshire, understanding the problems and priorities in the region and sharing knowledge with partners.
    • Raise awareness of cancer and how to prevent it by working in local communities, schools and colleges, sports clubs and with other health-related organisations.
    • Promote screening programmes and fund research that can improve the diagnosis of cancer so we can detect and treat it at the earliest opportunity.
    • Invest in innovative research projects at every stage of a cancer patient's journey.
    • Campaign for fair and equal access to the very best healthcare services and a greater share of the money spent nationally on research.
  • For further information, please visit or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

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