Stevenage Half Marathon: Paul to return to his roots for final running challenge after grandson’s dog bite ordeal

PUBLISHED: 08:42 11 October 2017 | UPDATED: 08:42 11 October 2017

Paul Scanlon with his grandson Anton, who had to have reconstructive facial surgery after being attacked by a dog. Picture: Paul Scanlon

Paul Scanlon with his grandson Anton, who had to have reconstructive facial surgery after being attacked by a dog. Picture: Paul Scanlon

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An 47-year-old is set to return to his Stevenage roots to take part in the town’s half marathon – the 11th and final leg of a charity challenge inspired by his grandson who suffered a serious dog bite.

Paul Scanlon after finishing the Great North Run, one of six half marathons he is taking on this year. Picture: Courtesy of Paul Scanlon Paul Scanlon after finishing the Great North Run, one of six half marathons he is taking on this year. Picture: Courtesy of Paul Scanlon

Paul Scanlon will be back in his home town for the Stevenage Half Marathon on October 22 to raise money for the Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital in Wales.

The Cardiff-based hospital treated Paul’s grandson Anton, who had to have reconstructive facial surgery after being seriously bitten by a dog, so the grandfather has set about completing a series of running challenges to say thank you.

Paul, who has lived in Cardiff for 30 years but grew up in the Bedwell area, will be reunited with friends and family at Stevenage – his sixth and final half marathon of the year, having also run five 10k races.

“The work the surgeons carried out and the emergency care Anton received was outstanding – we are forever indebted to them,” said Paul.

Paul Scanlon, pictured with grandson Anton after completing the Swansea 10k, will take on the Stevenage Half Marathon on October 22. Picture: Paul Scanlon Paul Scanlon, pictured with grandson Anton after completing the Swansea 10k, will take on the Stevenage Half Marathon on October 22. Picture: Paul Scanlon

“I could just about put one foot in front of another before I started running. But I just kept going. During the runs I have just thought of his lovely little face.

“When my arms, legs, and everything else was aching, the way I dealt with it was to forget the trauma and think of Anton and all the pain he has had to through, and is still going through.”

Paul only started running 18 months ago, but has racked up almost 100 miles in races since March – including the Great North Run in September and the Cardiff Half Marathon earlier this month.

“I was not an athlete so it has been extremely challenging,” he told the Comet.

Paul Scanlon and grandson Anton take a walk along the beach after the Swansea 10k. Picture: Courtesy of Paul Scanlon Paul Scanlon and grandson Anton take a walk along the beach after the Swansea 10k. Picture: Courtesy of Paul Scanlon

“But the Great North Run was fantastic. With 65,000 competitors taking part it was a truly amazing experience.”

Originally Paul had planned 10 challenges, but – thanks to the persuasive powers of his family – decided to take on the 13.1-mile course in Stevenage too.

“Your home town is always your home town,” added Paul.

“I just want to say a massive thank you to all the people from Stevenage who are giving overwhelming support and help to Anton and me. I have been amazed by the magnitude of good will from the people of Stevenage and I am so looking forward to coming back to rekindle old ties.”

Paul set an initial fundraising target of £1,000, but has now raised more than £2,700. To make a donation visit justgiving.com/paulschallenge2017.

There are still places available for the Stevenage Half Marathon – see activetrainingworld.co.uk/event_details.aspx?id=4296.

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