I MAY be walking 3,000 miles but I have to keep reminding people that I am only walking.
Those are the words of inspirational walker and fundraiser Richard Farquhar who completed the relatively short walk from Stratford Racecourse to Warwick Racecourse on Friday (February 26) as part of his ‘Walking The Courses’ mission.
Aged 53, Richard has already completed 2,500 miles and will enter the final furlong at Newmarket Racecourse on Thursday (April 14) for its annual Craven meeting.
Richard is raising funds for two charities close to his heart – Racing Welfare and Pancreatic Cancer UK.
The former Ladbrokes worker tragically lost his father to the disease in 2012 and horse racing itself has seen many of its heroes fall victim to the disease – including former trainers Dessie Hughes and John Hills.
In an attempt to raise as much money for Pancreatic Cancer UK as the government provided in 2013, Richard has set a phenomenal target of £1.4 million.
Speaking to Observer reporter Shaun Reynolds, Richard said he’s been overwhelmed with the incredible support from the racing community.
He added: “Walking The Courses is a charity venture where I’m walking from racecourse to racecourse linking all 60 tracks tracks in the UK over a 13 month period and walking 3,000 miles.
“The distance I’m walking is equivalent to covering the distance between Warwick town centre and New York or by walking from the west side of Australia to the east side of Australia with a few miles added on.”
Of all the 22 common cancers, Pancreatic Cancer has the worst survival rate of just four per cent – though receives just one per cent of all cancer research funding in the UK.
Approximately 23 people are diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer each day – something Richard wants to change.
He said: “The charity is doing great work and racing has been hit tremendously hard by the disease.
“The government provided just £700,000 for research into Pancreatic Cancer in 2013 – I want to prove that it’s possible for a community of racing fans to raise that amount by themselves.
“I’m also raising funds for Racing Welfare who without there would be no horse racing.
“From the stable lads to the box drivers and racecourse employees – you name it – Racing Welfare provides tremendous support to everybody in the background of racing.”
On Friday, Richard was joined by former Ladbrokes colleagues, members of the ‘Point 2 Point Authority’, staff at Warwick Racecourse and his proud daughter Minty – who has overseen the fundraising event from day one.
“I was always confident we’d get support from racing,” said Richard.
“Today I’m walking with some former colleagues who I worked with in the East End of London running Ladbrokes betting shops – and this was some 30 years ago so I’m delighted with the support.
“My legs are holding up well and my final walk will be an emotional one as the Craven meeting is one I always went to with my dead old father so I’m sure a few emotions will be shown.”
To support Richard’s incredible charity walk, visit www.walkingthecourses.com where you can also find out more information about his remaining walks.