Sisters to tackle ultra marathon in memory of friend
PUBLISHED: 19:00 10 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:35 11 June 2019
Two sisters are preparing for an ultra marathon in memory of a friend who died less than a year after being diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Belinda and Stephanie Ensten will take part in Race to the King, which is a 53-mile event along the South Downs Way ending at Winchester Cathedral - the burial place of first kings and queens of England.
The sisters, who are originally from Bury St Edmunds, will raise money for Brain Tumour Research following the death of 27-year-old friend Daniel Dewar in October last year.
Daniel, from Bury, was diagnosed with a low-grade brain tumour in November 2017 but just six months later his prognosis changed when the tumour was found to be an aggressive glioma.
Belinda, who is a midwife and now lives in north London, said: "Dan was a loyal, supportive and courageous friend. Even as his condition quickly deteriorated, his good humour and friendship were unwavering and it's heart-breaking that this disease has taken him away so cruelly and at such a young age.
"We had to do something in the immediate aftermath of his death and this physical challenge seemed a fitting way to remember him."
During the challenge on June 22, the siblings will tackle 23.4 miles on day one, climbing 2,718ft before a 30-mile run and 2,333 climb on day two.
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Stephanie, who lives in south London and works in marketing for O2, said: "We've really ramped up our training and reached some important milestones over the last few weeks.
"We recently ran the Hackney half marathon, which was Belinda's first time running over this distance, and I have now run two back-to-back half marathons.
"It's been extremely tough - I have the blisters to prove it - but we're so motivated knowing how poor Dan's prognosis was. It really opened our eyes to how much more needs to be done for brain tumour patients."
The sisters have set a fundraising target of £2,740, which is the amount it costs per day to sponsor a Brain Tumour Research Centre of Excellence.
Each of the centres has a 'Wall of Hope' where the charity recognises sponsors and loved ones fighting or lost to brain tumours.
Belinda added that the sisters would love to honour Dan by commissioning a special tile in his memory to place on a Wall of Hope.
Janice Wright, community fundraising manager for Brain Tumour Research, said: "Belinda and Stephanie's determination to fundraise for us is inspirational and we can't thank them enough for their amazing efforts. We wish them the very best of luck for the event.
"Dan's story reminds us that brain tumours kill more men under the age of 45 than prostate cancer yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devastating disease."
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