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3 October 2023   |   Blog   |   

Gill Punt: Running towards hope – A journey of compassion and determination

In a world marked by adversity, individuals with unwavering determination can make a profound difference. Gill Punt, a 53 year old PE teacher and mother of three, embodies such tenacity. Her extraordinary journey led her from 1999 London Marathon to the 2023 Berlin Marathon, raising £1.4 million for cancer charities and completing the prestigious Abbott World Marathon Majors with Sports Tours International.


Gill’s goal to raise funds for cancer charities began two decades ago, driven by a personal connection. She lost her father to bile duct cancer, igniting her fundraising journey. Tragedy struck when a pupil, Grace, succumbed to brain cancer just before her 16th birthday. This loss, along with losing Eren to spinal cancer and colleagues Angela and Hilary to breast and pancreatic cancer, fuelled Gill’s determination.

Gill organised multiple events, from cricket matches to marathons, earning a Guinness World Record at the 2016 TCS London Marathon as a polar bear-clad Cancer Research UK mascot. Even though Gill’s journey into running defied family norms, “as none of us were natural runners”, it was merely a means to chase a ball, which soon became a passion for herself and others who joined her to fight cancer. Indeed, Gill confirmed that: “I have inspired and encouraged a staggering amount of people to join me in my numerous initiatives with twenty-four marathons (including two World Marathon Majors in one week), over thirty Half Marathons, more than forty 10k runs and numerous ‘Race For Life’ 5ks for over two decades.”

With the alarming statistic that 1 in 2 people will face cancer, Gill understood the urgency. Funding researchers and supporting discoveries became vital. Her tireless efforts left an enduring impact on the fight against cancer. Gill’s dedication earned her the British Empire Medal in 2019 and a Points of Light Award from Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2022. She also carried the Queen’s Baton for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games.

Gill’s story is a testament to the power of her determination and compassion. Her journey from loss and grief to unwavering commitment and achievement serves as an inspiration to us all. She reminds us that, in the face of adversity, it is possible to make a lasting impact on the lives of others and on the world at large. Her running story challenges us to find innovative ways to improve our communities and to understand that the efforts of one determined individual can bring about change.

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