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England legend Alastair Cook backs runner dressed in cricket kit for record-breaking Gloucester race in £10k charity challenge

Gloucester > Sport > Running

Author: Roger Jackson, Posted: Thursday, 17th January 2019, 16:30

Rob Cross is running the Gloucester Half Marathon in Gloucestershire cricket kit Rob Cross is running the Gloucester Half Marathon in Gloucestershire cricket kit

A cricket fan is attempting to break the world record for the fastest half marathon in cricket kit as he takes part in Sunday’s Gloucester Half Marathon.

Rob Cross is running 18 half-marathons – one in each of the 18 first-class cricket counties – in an attempt to raise £10,000 for Mind and cricket charity Chance to Shine.

And his efforts are being supported by Alastair Cook, one of England’s all-time cricketing greats.

“I think it [Chance to Shine] is a brilliant charity simply because cricket shouldn’t be an elitist sport,” said England’s all-time leading Test run-scorer.

“Yes, you do need a few facilities to play, however it shouldn’t be elitist and should be for everyone. It’s such a great sport to combine society – youth, adults, it doesn’t matter, you can play in any team.”

So far, Cook has travelled over 2,800 miles around the country as part of the challenge, and raised over £4,500 for the two charities in the process. This weekend’s race will be Rob’s 14th as he heads into the final straight of this marathon challenge.

The first event took place in Kent last February and the challenge will finish with the full London Marathon in April, where Rob will also run in pads and a helmet.

“I decided to do the challenge because I want to try and raise more awareness of mental health,” said Cross, a 23-year-old marketing associate from London.

“It’s a topic close to my heart as I have close friends who have struggled with it. This challenge also combines my love of cricket and Chance to Shine does amazing work in schools and communities throughout the country.

“It’s definitely the most physically challenging task I’ve ever undertaken but I’m really proud to be able to support two fantastic charities and I’m really focussed on raising as much money and awareness as possible.”

Cross’s personal best for the half marathon without cricket kit is one hour, 36 minutes and he now has his sights set on breaking the Guinness World Record for the quickest half-marathon in cricket gear, which currently stands at one hour, 40 minutes.

“Breaking the world record would be amazing,” he added. “I’d love to do that in Gloucester if I can and my times are getting quicker so I think I have a chance, but the main thing for me is raising more money.”

Laura Cordingley, chief executive at Chance to Shine, said: “We are honoured that Rob has chosen to support Chance to Shine via his mammoth effort of running 18 half marathons.

“Not only is this is a huge physical feat it also links closely to our values of being ambitious and inspiring others.

“We can’t thank Rob enough for his efforts, which will help us, continue to use cricket to help children and young people by educating, teaching vital skills, igniting new passions and uniting diverse communities.”

Cross’s cricket kit, including his helmet, has been sponsored by Gloucestershire County Cricket Club.

The half marathon is just one of three races taking place in Gloucester on Sunday with runners who fancy competing over a longer distance offered the chance to compete in a marathon or 50.

Some 1,200 runners have entered across the three races with competitors in the first race – the half marathon – under-starter’s orders at 10.10am.

Ten minutes later the marathon gets under way, with both races starting in School Lane in Quedgeley.

The 50K runners go off at 10.23am from Severn ale Drive, Quedgeley.

All three races finish on the footpath just before School Lane opposite Severn Vale School and the race HQ is at Severn Vale Sports Centre, School Lane, Quedgeley, Gloucester.

The annual event is organised by the Beyond the Limitations team of Anne and Norman Wilson, himself a former world class runner. Now 62, Norman won the Berlin Marathon in 1977 in a time of two hours, 16 minutes, 21 seconds.

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