Running for Macmillan

Steve Bonthrone and Allison McArthur are combining their love of running with a drive to raise funds for people affected by cancer, writes Rosemary Free, of Macmillan Cancer Support.

For most of us, 2015 is the year we’re in. For personal trainer Steve Bonthrone, it’s the number of kilometres he has pledged to run to raise money for a cancer charity this year.

Not to be outdone, his wife Allison McArthur has set her own challenge, running her third marathon for Macmillan Cancer Support, doing a 130km cycle event and running 5km, 10km, a half-marathon and the final leg of a marathon in one weekend.

Steve and AllisonThe couple, from Perth, started raising money for Macmillan last year after Steve lost his father and Allison her grandparents to cancer.

Initially Allison had pledged to run three marathons in 2014 but when injury forced her to pull out of the Loch Ness Marathon she took on a cycling event instead – getting on a bike for the first time since her childhood. This year the English teacher was determined to complete her third marathon.

At the same time Steve decided to up his challenge. Having done more than 1,000 miles for the charity last year, he hit on the idea of running 2015km. As part of this mammoth task, he will join Allison at the Paris Marathon in April and then aim to become the first person to complete the ‘hairy’ (running all four events at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival) for the second time.

Allison will also run all four events in Edinburgh in May, but instead of doing the full marathon will complete the last leg in a relay team. Before that, she will take part in Etape Caledonia – a 130km cycling event around Loch Tummel and Loch Rannoch.

For the couple, taking on such a big challenge is more about belief than physical ability. “Running something like the ‘hairy’ doesn’t require much more training than you would do for a marathon,” says Steve, 44. “It’s more belief than anything else. Once you have done the preparation mentally, it’s fine physically.”

Steve BonthroneHe adds: “I really enjoy taking part in all the events with Allison, even though we don’t run together. I’m not sure it makes any difference in terms of motivation but it deflects the pre-race nerves if we’re both running.

“I also like that we’re able to share our experiences of the race afterwards so it doesn’t become a one-sided conversation as one of us talks about the race and the other wishes they’d been running.”

Meanwhile Allison, 36, enjoys the bonus of having a personal trainer for a husband.

“He writes all my training programmes so I know exactly what I need to do,” she says. “He also works with me on strength and conditioning.”

The downside is the lack of time the couple get to spend with each other in the run-up to a big event.

“We run at very different paces and our styles are different so although at the weekend we might be out at the same time, it doesn’t suit us to train together,” says Allison.

While she might not be able to compete with her husband in terms of speed, Allison does have the upper hand when it comes to fundraising.

“I think when you’re both taking on this kind of challenge, a little bit of competitive spirit will creep in,” she says. “My final total last year was just over £5,000 and Steve raised £4,320.”

Steve and AllisonYou can donate at the following pages: or

To find out more about Macmillan Cancer Support, visit

More from Scotland Outdoors

Tags: , ,


Current issue

Scotland Outdoors issue 39

Subscription plans

Upcoming Events

Jan 01

The Stoats Loony Dook

1 January, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Jan 01

New Year’s Day Dook

1 January, 2019 @ 10:30 am - 11:00 am
Jan 01

The Stoats Loony Dook

1 January, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Jan 01

New Year’s Day Dook

1 January, 2020 @ 10:30 am - 11:00 am

Get our e-news