Mr Ovary makes his miles count
Craig McMurrough is a father, a husband, brother and fundraiser, who is using his running to celebrate the sister he sadly lost four years ago.
Born in Dublin and now residing in Hertfordshire in England, Craig, 50, has his family supporting him every step of the way.
He has had a long relationship with athletics, beginning as an All-Ireland speed walking champion in the 1980s and he ran his first 10km as a 14-year-old. After focusing on this distance for many years, he decided to wear a costume for a race to mix things up and from then on, there was no looking back.
“The energy, reaction and contribution from others when I ran in costume was so compelling and such a great way to raise money for important causes.”
Craig has run in costume for a number of charities, including, Breast Cancer Now, Help for Heroes and British Heart Foundation and his fundraising tally from the years of fancy dress is more than £70,000 and rising.
Now his efforts are focused on raising awareness and money for Ovacome – a UK charity for Ovarian Cancer – the disease which took his sister Cheryl in 2017. To stand out from the crowd, Craig runs in – you guessed it – an ovary costume.
“I wanted to help raise awareness of the ovarian cancer disease and grab people’s attention so we designed the ovary. It has the symptoms written on it so people can read as I run.
The main message I want to get across is that if you experience any of the symptoms, go to your doctor. The symptoms can be easily mistaken for menopausal changes but we are championing women to always double check and follow the B.E.A.T. (the charity's campaign to raise awareness of the symptoms: Bloating that is persistent and doesn’t come and go, Eating difficulty and feeling full more quickly, Abdominal and pelvic pain felt most days and Toilet changes in urination or bowel habits.)”
His first full marathon was in 2014 at the London Marathon and he has now clocked 20 marathons, many of them overseas including Amsterdam, Porto, Barcelona, Berlin and Chicago.
“I love to travel for races, so I am hoping things go to plan this year so that I can run London for the seventh time and then earn my fifth star in Tokyo – in my ovarian costume if allowed! I then just have Boston to aim for to get to my Six Star goal.”
Running has helped Craig a huge amount in grieving for Cheryl.
“It has been vital to my own grieving process. Every time I put that ovary on I think of dear Cheryl and run in her memory. Running and raising funds and awareness is the best thing I can do to help others hopefully avoid what our family went through and to cherish her memory.
“Cheryl was a lovely, kind, caring and sweet woman with a heart of gold, stunning blue eyes and an infectious laugh and sense of fun that people loved. She was a fab sister, daughter, wife and mother who is missed so much by us all.”
For anyone looking for an outlet for their loss, stress, anxiety or depression, Craig believes that running can be a great support tool.
“For me the endorphin rush from finishing a distance is immense while the training and sense of achievement is amazing along the way and you get to make new friends too from around the world.”
So, what’s next for My Ovary?
“I plan to take the Ovary on a UK tour when it is safe to do so. I want to spread awareness across towns and cities whilst linking up with the regional Ovacome teams where possible across the country.”
- World Ovarian Cancer Day is 8 May, 2021
- For more information, visit: cureourovariancancer.org
- For more information on Ovacome, the UK charity that supports sufferers and their families please visit: ovacome.org.uk
- If you have a spotlight on health story you’d like to share, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Note: Always consult a physician and get a full health evaluation prior to marathon training. Even if athletes appear healthy, or to have a disorder under control, underlying medical conditions could exist.