Marathon effort to boost charity

A Norwich runner has returned from the United States after a gruelling charity challenge to raise money for a cause very close to his heart.

Richard Hickling, of Allison Bank in Norwich city centre, ran last month's New York Marathon to raise money for an adults' autism centre.

The charity was chosen because Mr Hickling's godson Kyan Harhai suffers from the disorder and may need the support of such a centre when he grows up.

Six-year-old Kyan, who lives in America, was there to cheer on his godfather as he completed the endurance race amid Manhattan's towering skyscrapers in four hours and 45 minutes.

Mr Hickling, 38, who works as a supply manager at Aviva in the city, said he had raised more than �2,500 so far for Autism Anglian, which opened a centre in Dereham earlier this year.

'It gave me a good target and the money which people contributed really pushed me on during the training,' he said.

'Knowing I was doing it for Kyan and the autism centre for people who will face the same challenges he would face later in life, it meant a lot to me.

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'The experience and the crowds were incredible. I had cramp in four different places and I have never been in so much pain in my life, but having everyone cheering you on when you come into Manhattan keeps you going.'

Among the 45,000 other marathon runners was one of the Chilean miners involved in the dramatic underground rescue in October.

'I don't think he spoke any English, but I ran alongside him for a while and shook his hand,' said Mr Hickling.

After two hernia operations and a car accident in the past two years, Mr Hickling said the marathon training was a good way of regaining his fitness as well as raising money, with the support of his girlfriend Kelly Rossiter key to his success.

To donate to Mr Hickling's fundraising effort, visit www.bmycharity.com/richardhickling.

Are you doing something amazing for charity? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk