Knaresborough runner takes on Venice Marathon for Yorkshire Cancer Research

A charity worker will begin a year of fundraising for Yorkshire Research this weekend by taking on the Venice Marathon.

Kirstie Speciale, a support worker for Age UK, will head to Italy in the early hours of Saturday with her friend Helen Gregory, a seasoned marathon runner who has provided training and motivational support in the run up to the big day.


Kirstie Speciale, a support worker for Age UK
Kirstie Speciale, a support worker for Age UK

The Venice Marathon, which takes place on Sunday (22 October 2017), starts in Stra, a small town west of Venice, in front of Villa Pisani, a mansion built in the 18th century.

Kirstie and Helen will have the chance to enjoy the sights of the city, including St Mark’s Square and the Gran Canal, as they make their way around the route. The pair will pass over 14 bridges before reaching the finish line at Riva Sette Martiri.

Kirstie, 46, said:

I happened to be in Venice last year when the marathon was running and decided that if I ever did one, that would be it. I didn’t actually think I would though. I’m not a distance runner and in fact only took up any sort of exercise at all in the last six years.

Training has gone okay. There’s been ups and several downs, but hopefully I’ll get round somehow. Helen is amazing so I’m hoping she’ll get me to the finish line.

Kirstie is hoping to raise £3,000 for Yorkshire Cancer Research, which aims to help more people in the region survive cancer by funding innovative research and community health projects.

As well as completing the marathon, she is planning to hold charity bingo nights, fitness classes and cookery demonstrations. She is also hoping to take part in a 400 mile bike ride from Venice to Rome through the Apennine mountain range.

Kirstie added:

I feel passionately about supporting local cancer charities after tragically losing several family members and friends to the disease. I also know several people who have survived cancer or are currently undergoing treatment. Last year I supported the Yorkshire Cancer Centre and raised more than £3,000 by organising several events, culminating in cycling from London to Paris.

To sponsor Kirstie, please visit For more information about fundraising for Yorkshire Cancer Research, please visit

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