11th April 2024

Callum McShane’s London Marathon story: overcoming adversity, honouring legacy

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Born and bred in Liverpool, Callum McShane is an Evertonian who loves sports, especially football and rugby. 

“Growing up, I loved playing a lot of football but sadly I suffered three serious knee injuries. These included needing operations to remove 60-65% of the lateral meniscus in my right knee and 20-25% of the lateral meniscus in my left knee. I then ruptured the ACL in my left knee and I have now been told I have arthritis in both my knees. 

“I struggled with my recovery from these injuries. I found it tough both physically and mentally. I had numerous doctors and surgeons telling me I would not be able to play football or run for more than 10-15 minutes. This led to me putting on a lot of weight and becoming really unhappy with myself.

“This lasted a few years until I realised something had to change so I decided to set myself some goals. My long-term goal and vision was to prove the experts wrong. 

“I’d always wanted to run the London marathon. Whilst I was growing up I used to watch it on the television. I loved it. The build-up, the soundtrack, the iconic locations and being inspired when Paula Radcliffe broke the world record.

“I was extremely unfit and overweight so I set myself some short-term goals. These included walking a half marathon, a 50-mile bike ride and a 2-mile swim. Each event helped me build more confidence in myself. 

“On 16th November 2024, I received a phone call offering me a place to run the London Marathon for Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation. I couldn’t believe it and felt on top of the world. I instantly said yes as I can’t turn down a challenge, however, I have to admit once I finished the phone call I began questioning myself. 

“I was currently on antibiotics for a chest infection and struggling with my breathing and asthma. How would I train for this marathon? Would I be able to complete it? Would the training be too tough? Would I get injured again? 

“I spoke to numerous people and asked what their thoughts were. A lot of family and friends encouraged me. Others told me I wouldn’t be able to do it. However, I found these people acted as fuel to my fire and I set out to prove them wrong. I knew this journey wouldn’t be easy, but I also knew I’d give it everything and raise as much money for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation as possible. 

“I have a very unique link with Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation as one of the founders (Eric Morris) was my Grandad’s uncle. 

“My Grandad used to tell me stories about Eric and how even though Eric was his uncle, they were more like brothers or cousins. He also told me many tales of japes and pranks of childhood summers spent in the family marquee in Moreton, Wirral which was a holiday haven for a lot of Liverpudlians in the 1930s.

“My Grandad took me to the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation on London Road when I was 12. I met Professor Donnelly who kindly showed us around the centre and I recall him showing me an embroidered banner with Eric’s name on it. He was a patient and neighbour of the Professor. Eric also owned several businesses and had excellent entrepreneurial skills, so helped Professor Donnelly set up Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation!

“I was very close to my Grandad and he lived just over a mile away from me. I worked out that if I ran to his house and back 13 times I’d complete a marathon. My Grandad would visit my house every week without fail despite having ongoing health problems. He would never ever let them stop him from coming to see his grandchildren. I loved how strong he was and that stubborn side to him. That and the sweets he used to bring us…

“My Grandad always wanted me to take him for a pint when I turned 18 and I really wish I could have. But when I turned 18 his health deteriorated and he sadly passed away due to lung cancer. 

“I now want to run the London Marathon in his memory. 

“The training has been extremely tough and a huge challenge. I turned up for my first ever Park Run only to find out it had been cancelled. Luckily I bumped into another runner who knew the route and agreed to do the 5k with me. I was shattered at the end of it. I did the maths and worked out a marathon was more than eight 5ks…I had a lot of work to do.

“Each week I increased the miles. I found running over the winter period in different conditions challenging but I had a motto “Ice, snow or rain it won’t stop McShane.” I relish in a challenge and love the constant battle with my head when it tells me to stop running and to give up. 

“I’ve been lucky to have a lot of amazing friends who have helped me fundraise tremendously. I’ll forever be grateful to them and those people know who they are. 

“We hosted a cake sale just before Christmas so everybody could attend whilst in high spirits before they started their January diets. We then hosted a Valentine’s Day cake sale followed by an Easter cake sale. 

“I also ran an event at Anytime Fitness on Allerton Road with people participating in different fitness challenges and prizes for all involved. The management and staff helped make this event a success. 

“My Grandad would have been 96 on 13th April 2024 (a week before the marathon). I wanted to mark this occasion and decided to do a raffle in his memory. I put my Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation top on and spoke to lots of local businesses asking if they’d be able to donate a prize. I was overwhelmed with the support received. My beloved Everton even donated a shirt signed by all of the players. 

“I’d like to give a big shout-out to my Mum and Dad who will be spurring me on in the crowd come 21st April 2024. Also, my 2 sisters who will be following me on the live tracker. I know Grandad will be watching over me and with how stubborn he is he won’t let me stop on the big day. 

“Grandad, I promise you I’ll get to that finish line and when I do, I’ll raise a glass to you and we’ll have that drink we should have had together.

Support Callum’s London Marathon fundraiser here: https://www.justgiving.com/page/callum-mcshane-1700683028873