Music staff from the two cathedrals in Liverpool came together on 31 December to raise money for Micah, the social justice charity set up by Liverpool Cathedral, Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King and St Bride’s Church to relieve local residents from social injustice and poverty.
Christopher McElroy is director of music at the Metropolitan Cathedral; Stephen Mannings is director of music outreach at Liverpool Cathedral. They had trained together (albeit socially distanced and when legally permitted) for this special event for several months.
Despite a successful training period, two days before the pair were due to run their marathon, a cold weather snap descended on Liverpool. Runners will happily run in most weather conditions but the one that strikes terror is ice. Ice on the ground is both hard to see, especially in the dark, and can have lethal consequences, especially when running at pace.
On 30 December, the day before the marathon, a course inspection of the planned route took place. The self-designed route was due to start from the Anglican Cathedral, passing the Metropolitan Cathedral and taking in large parts of the city before finishing at the Pier Head in front of the Liver Buildings. Sadly, it became clear that this course was not going to be runnable due to significant patches of ice.
Having received significant financial sponsorship to benefit Micah, the duo simply couldn't give up. So they opted for plan B, which involved a route up and down the Promenade from Aigburth to the Pier Head and back (several times). Even then, the viability of this course wasn’t certain so a very early morning inspection took place on 31 December. While the paths were not great, it was possible to run either on the grass alongside it or next to the railings to avoid the icy surface; thus the runners decided to go ahead.
Both men managed to stay fully upright for the duration of the marathon, albeit with one or two close calls. They rain through rain, wind and a freak hailstorm, finishing the 26.2 mile run in 3 hours, 23 minutes. They were greeted at the finish by family and friends who offered congratulations and updated them on fundraising progress.
Chris and Stephen are delighted that their marathon for Micah generated a grand total of £2,250 to assist Micah in its efforts to combat unemployment and deliver emergency food aid and affordable food at this difficult time for many people.