Baldock business owner to run Great Wall of China marathon for Cancer Research UK in memory of dad and sister

Robert Hegarty from Letchworth, pictured running the New York City Marathon, is now set to go the di

Robert Hegarty from Letchworth, pictured running the New York City Marathon, is now set to go the distance at the Great Wall of China. Photo: Supplied - Credit: Archant

A Baldock business owner is set to honour his dad and sister by running a marathon on the Great Wall of China in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Robert Hegarty's dad and sister Martin and Rebecca Hegarty, in whose memory he is running the Great

Robert Hegarty's dad and sister Martin and Rebecca Hegarty, in whose memory he is running the Great Wall of China marathon. Photos: Supplied - Credit: Archant

Robert Hegarty, from Letchworth, is taking on the Great Wall Marathon in memory of his sister Rebecca and dad Martin, who died from cancer within eight months of each other four years ago.

Rebecca lost her fight with cancer in December 2012 – leaving two young daughters – and seven months later former Letchworth rugby player Martin died of intravascular large B-cell lymphoma.

Robert, 40, said: “Our family has gone through a lot over the years with this horrible disease.

“Rebecca was first diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2011, after having problems for years that were misdiagnosed. By the time she was diagnosed it was stage 4b.

Participants in the 2016 Great Wall Marathon. Photo: Klaus Sletting/Albatros Travel

Participants in the 2016 Great Wall Marathon. Photo: Klaus Sletting/Albatros Travel - Credit: Klaus Sletting / Albatros Travel


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“She was such an amazing person and full of life – she kept our family together.

“She never seemed to worry about herself and just wanted to make sure we and her kids would be OK if she lost her fight.”

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Seven months later Martin was taken to hospital with what was thought to be some kind of bug.

“Within 10 days of this he started to have multiple organ failures,” said Robert.

“He passed away within a couple of days. We later found out he had intravascular large B-cell lymphoma.

“My father was a good family man, who strove to – and did – do well in business to give us kids everything we needed.

“Please sponsor me what you can to help fight this horrible thing, cancer – we will beat it.

“I will make sure I make it round for Rebecca and my dad Martin.”

Robert now heads his late father’s company, Larkfield Foods, a meat wholesaler based in Baldock’s Hitchin Street which employs six people.

He is set to join runners from more than 60 nations in the 26.2-mile challenge on May 20, which will take him to altitudes of up to 500 metres amid temperatures of about 30°C.

The course is on the Great Wall itself near the village of Huangyaguan, about 30 miles east of Beijing, and is billed as one of the toughest marathons in the world.

It was first held in 1999, and offers the runners sweeping views of the surrounding countryside and villages.

Robert has taken part in runs such as the New York City Marathon in the past and ran the Baldock Beast last month.

To find out more or donate to the cause, see justgiving.com/fundraising/Robert-Hegarty5.

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