Brothers' marathon effort for CRY

Three Armagh brothers are to run a half marathon in memory of Royal School student John McCall, who died suddenly two years ago with a rare heart condition.

Brothers Matthew, Paul and Mark Nicholson, former students of the Royal School, Armagh are running the Adidas Silverstone Half Marathon on Sunday 19th March.

Explained Matthew: “We’re running to raise funds for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

“John died of heart failure whilst playing rugby for Ireland U19. He was an amazingly talented young man, whose life was cut short at 18 by a heart condition.

“I got to know him and his family very well through the Royal School Armagh’s rugby community,” continued Matthew.

“John was gifted in many areas – most significantly with his artistic flair and raw skill on the rugby field. Even for a man of 18 he had achieved so much in the sport – captaining his royal School 1st XV side to Ulster Schools Cup victory and going on to represent Ireland in the U19 Rugby World Cup in South Africa.

“The very recent death of Richhill man Andrew Calvin – my mother’s cousin’s son – has also further highlighted the fact that we need to be concerned about cardiac risk in the young,” he added.

Every week eight apparently fit and healthy young people die in the UK from undiagnosed heart conditions. CRY works to raise awareness of Sudden Death Syndrome (SDS) and campaigns for proactive screening of young people. It offers help and support to those who have suffered a loss, provides medical information, carries out Mobile Cardiac Screening and ECG Testing Programmes within local communities and contributes to medical research.

Any money the Nicholson brothers raise will go to local screening sessions.

Matthew explains: “I have spoken to the charity representatives, and they have assured me than any money we raise will go to the Northern Ireland Screening Fund.

“We have raised £1,533.59 so far and would love to increase that further. My brother Paul and I hope to get substantial donations from the banks we work in and hopeful more online donations between now and the 19th March.”

The Nicholson brothers and other team members Matt Cunnane, Sean Flory and Nigel Brunt (Matthew’s friends and work colleagues) are training hard in preparation for the half marathon.

Matthew said: “They recommend 15 weeks of preparation for your first half marathon. I have been training since mid-December and am currently up to running 10 miles per session. Mark and Paul didn’t start until the new year. I am aiming to finish inside 120 minutes – my brothers just want to finish!”

Mark (32) who lives near Portadown, is Director of Greenway Recycling in Mountnorris. He is fully qualified PGA golf professional.

Matthew (25) graduated from Abertay University in Dundee with a degree in BSc Computing then moved to the Canary Wharf area of London and got a job with HSBC.

Paul (27) graduated from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh with a degree in Economics then got a job with HSBC Investment Management in London. He currently works in London for Japanese Asset Management Company, Nomura and recently married Marie in her home town Sweden.

For more information about the charity run or to sponsor the Nicholson brothers visit