Parks chief set for Boston climax to marathon charity bid

Industry sponsors will see Tony Clish donate over £10,000 to the Red Cross after the Boston marathon

PARK HOLIDAYS UK director Tony Clish is stepping up his training regime to compete this spring in America’s Boston marathon – the last in a series of gruelling sporting challenge he set himself.

The 58-year-old executive has received support from throughout the industry for his bid to cross the finishing line in the world’s six most famous marathon events.

With London, Berlin, New York, Tokyo and Chicago already under his belt, Tony now just needs to beat Boston in order to meet his tough target.

But the loudest cheers for his hoped-for success will come from the many charities and good causes which have benefitted from the generous sponsorships Tony has attracted.

The Boston marathon alone will, if Tony completes the 26.2 miles which include the race’s notorious Heartbreak Hill, see over £10,000 donated to the International Red Cross.

Averaging 4.5 hours for each event so far, Tony says he owes a great debt of thanks to the many members of the holiday parks supply industry which have rallied round:

The Boston marathon’s punishing Heartbreak Hill is a 2km steep incline

“I can’t pretend that training and taking part in these marathons is exactly a walk in the park, but I have been spurred on by the amazing support I’ve received!” he said.

“My journey began after I became a Games Maker volunteer helping at the 2012 London Olympics, and I determined to see if I could make a personal difference to helping charities.

“I decided that the big six international marathons would have a sufficiently high profile to attract the largest number of backers, so I put them all onto my hit-list.

“Word got around very quickly, and it’s been fantastic to be able to hand over thousands of pounds each time to charities carrying out such incredible work,” added Tony.

Not that Tony intends to hang up his training shoes after the Boston marathon on 20 April – for he is already drawing up a series of other sporting challenges to tackle.

They include the London Classics event in September which brings together the London Marathon, the Ride London cycling event, and the two-mile Swim Serpentine challenge.

He said he is also keen to take part in the Woburn Half Ironman long distance triathlon.

Tony, who is also a keen distance cyclist, is the commercial director of Park Holidays UK which operates 31 holiday parks in Southern England.

The company, he says, has a long tradition of providing charity support, and many individual employees also take part in sponsored events for a range of good causes.

Tony said he valued the contributions of all his sponsors, but would like to give a special thanks to Compass Insurance, Leisuredays Insurance, and Towergate Insurance – plus holiday home manufacturers ABI Caravans and Delta Caravans, and software specialists Elite Dynamics. He said he was also grateful to sales website My Holiday Caravan, publicity specialists The Works and Design4Print, and online booking group GFM.