By Rachael Grealish
Cumbria’s Marathon Man has been chosen as one of King Charles’ Coronation Champions for his outstanding charity work.
Gary McKee is one of 500 outstanding volunteers that have been recognised by Their Majesties The King and Queen Consort as part of the official Coronation celebrations in conjunction with Royal Voluntary Service.
Gary has been fundraising for Macmillan Cancer Support for the past 20 years and during that time has completed a number of incredible feats.
These include cycling through Brazil, climbing Kilimanjaro, running from Land’s End to John O’Groats and Coast-to-Coast (116 miles in under 24 hours), jumping out of aeroplanes and walking over hot coals, as well as the tasks that earned him the nickname the Marathon Man – running 100 marathons in 100 days, then 110 marathons in 110 days until, last year, when he ran an incredible marathon every single day in 2022 – that’s 365 consecutive marathons or a staggering 9,563 miles.
Now the 53-year-old has been recognised for his contribution and crowned a Coronation Champion after being one of 5,000 nominations received.
Gary McKee said: “It’s an honour to be named a Coronation Champion. I am lucky enough to have been able to take on these challenges, which have been tough, but not as tough as going through cancer treatment.
“Macmillan Cancer Support work incredibly hard to support people going through cancer. I just want to raise as much money as I can, and also hopefully inspire others to do the same, so they can continue to make such a massive difference to so many peoples’ lives, so it’s heart-warming to have my fundraising efforts recognised.”
The Coronation Champions Awards were launched by The Queen Consort, who is not only a passionate advocate of volunteering, but the president of the Royal Voluntary Service.
500 champions have been chosen and all of them, including Gary McKee, have been invited to attend one of the official Coronation celebrations, such as the Windsor Castle Coronation Concert or a Coronation Garden Party. They will also receive a specially designed, official Coronation Champions pin and a certificate signed by Their Majesties.
Catherine Johnstone CBE, Chief Executive of Royal Voluntary Service said: “We were completely blown away by the response to the Community Champions Awards and the huge volume of amazing nominees put forward. Our judges had a tough job selecting just 500 Champions from an array of thousands of inspirational individuals, who all deserve to be recognised and commended. “
“Each of our Coronation Champions displayed a commitment and contribution that far exceeds any expectation and we’re overjoyed to honour and thank them during this exciting point in history.”