Brother defies Covid to run 10k every day for hospital that saved his sister


Tom Citrine tested positive for Covid but kept running in quarantine to hit his 10km a day target for the hospital that treated his sister Katy’s Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Tom Citrine running for St Helens Hospital
Tom Citrine running for St Helens Hospital

Devoted brother Tom Citrine’s mega charity challenge is ­finally all run and dusted.

He vowed to complete 10km pounding the pavements every single day of 2021 to raise funds for the hospital which saved his sister.

New Year celebrations were extra special after his final run on Friday took him to a total of 3,650km – equivalent to the distance from London to Cyprus.

Tom, 31, kept up his 2,268-mile challenge even after testing ­positive for ­covid last month – slogging through his ten-day quarantine period on a treadmill at home.

He battled shin splints and blisters, braved Storm Arwen and ran all over the UK before completing his last leg at the Lilac Centre at St Helens Hospital, Merseyside, on Friday. The sound engineer raised £4,000 for the clinic, where his sister Katy Lancaster was treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma aged 35.

Devoted siblings Katy Lancaster and Tom Citrine

Tom said: “It was horrendous for our family, especially as she had to go through treatment when coronavirus hit, so her being immunocompromised made it even more stressful.

“In comparison to what she has been through, the pain in my legs from ­running is nothing. It’s a bit mad to think I made it this far. I didn’t think I’d keep it up for this long.”

Tom initially planned to run 10km every day from January 1 for 100 days to keep himself occupied in lockdown. He uploaded proof of the distance to fitness platform Strava.

But he soon decided to extend the challenge to the end of 2021 – and dedicate it to mum-of-two Katy.

Tom battled through pain, exhaustion and covid during his charity run

She had discovered a lump in her neck in late 2019, and a biopsy revealed she had Stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Katy was given 12 rounds of chemotherapy in six months at the Lilac Centre, while the UK went through its first national lockdown in early 2020.

“We went into lockdown halfway through my chemo,” said Katy, now 38. “I couldn’t have visitors, but the staff treated me like family. They’re all amazing.”

The retail worker, whose children are eight and five, finished treatment in June 2020 and got the all-clear weeks later.

Tom had to do some of his running on a treadmill as he self-isolated

Katy said she was “amazed and shocked” when Tom told her how he was going to show his appreciation for the clinic. “I didn’t think he’d do anything like that, especially as he likes a drink, and I know he’s run after having a few or when he’s hungover,” she said.

He mainly ran near his home in Tooting, South London, taking between 45 minutes and an hour each trip.

But he also racked up the miles in Cornwall, the Cotswolds, Edinburgh and Northern Ireland.

“I’ve run in some horrendous rain, one awful time I was running through puddles and a big SUV came past and soaked me,” he said.

“There were four or five times when I was out for drinks after work and then got home at 10pm and realised I still had to run – so off I went into the night.

“On the day after my birthday I had a stomach bug, so midway through I had to stop in a pub and use the toilet, which was pretty daunting.”

Impressively, Tom won’t be hanging up his trainers for 2022.

“My diet is pretty terrible,” he revealed. “I eat doughnuts all the time so there hasn’t been much belly loss.”

– To sponsor Tom CLICK HERE

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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