Neil Kirby is running this years South Downs Way 50 mile ultra race in aid of Hospitality Action and cancer charity SimPal.
“I have been in the hospitality business 50 years now and I have decided to set myself the ultimate challenge of running my first ultra marathon. I have run marathons from the age of 29 (My first being the Manchester Piccadilly Marathon in 3hrs and 14 mins) and introduced Sir Rocco Forte to running and training when I was at Grosvenor House Park Lane. Sir Rocco and I used to run and train together in St James’ and Hyde Park London and did 8 marathons together. I have been running for 37 years and completed 34 marathons, 189 half marathons and many other shorter running events (10k’s, 5k’s). My best time for a marathon being 2hrs 53mins (when I was a lot younger aged 32).
The challenge of the ultra race means a lot to me personally as it will be my first ultra-race. My son Neil junior has run and won both the 50 mile and 100 mile south downs race, so between us we must have good running genes! It is also symbolic as I am running a mile for every year I have been in the hospitality business. I am very much looking forward to the race in April and hopefully it will be a great opportunity to raise some money for my two nominated charities as well. To date I have raised over £350,000 just through my running, I did the London marathon in 2016 with my manager Simon and raised £3,500 between us.” Sir Rocco and I have previously raised £50,000 in 1984 for the then named ‘The Hotel and Catering Benevolent Association’ (Now Hospitality Action) I am very proud to be able to support them again all these years on.”