All members who have been with the club for a year or longer will know Mark Atherton, one of our former coaches who was with Surbiton for almost a decade, working predominantly with the Ladies and Colts sections.

At the start of the year Mark started a running challenge in memory of Emma Broad, one of our former Colts players, who sadly passed away in her sleep in May 2011, aged just 16, as a result of sudden cardiac arrest.

Emma was a beautiful and talented person. Her passion in life was hockey and she had played at Surbiton for many years, initially as a Colt before eventually breaking into our Ladies 1st XI squad. Representing England Under-16 Girls, she scored a goal against Germany whilst competing in Valencia during the Easter holidays a few weeks prior to her death. She touched the lives of so many and is dearly missed.

Mark set out to run the equivalent of a marathon distance for every week of the year (averaging 52 marathon distances in total in 2017) to raise awareness of the condition and much-needed funds for the charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young).

After a great start to his challenge, Mark completed the 1,363 total mile distance four and a half months ahead of schedule, and has now revised his challenge with a new target of running 2,000 miles in total in this calendar year.

Mark points out that, “The toughest part is the self-discipline. For the past few months I have been averaging over 7 miles per day. So I know if I miss a day, I will need to run a half marathon the next day to stay on track. Commitment is crucial, but managing my body and time has been the hardest part of the challenge.”

So far this year he has gone through 5 pairs of running shoes and spent just shy of 200 hours on the road – from the streets of South London, to the rolling countryside of Wiltshire, from the beaches in Florida, to snow storms in North Carolina, from the old railway trails in Pennsylvania, to canal paths in Holland.

Every week in the UK at least 12 apparently fit and healthy young people die of undiagnosed cardiac conditions. With your donation, CRY can reduce the frequency of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD) by working with cardiologists and family doctors to establish good practice and appropriate screening facilities to promote and protect the cardiac health of our young. By supporting CRY, you will help save young lives from these potentially fatal cardiac conditions.

If you would like to spur Mark on in his challenge, you can sponsor him through his JustGiving page here

For more information about Cardiac Risk in the Young and the charity go to their website here