Gloucestershire Friends in City News


Mike Harley met with members of the Gloucestershire ME/CFS Friendship Group on Sunday after completing the Gloucester Half Marathon in training for the next of his 28 EU Marathons charity challenge for Invest in ME Research.

Congratulations to Mike and his supporters for tipping over the £15k mark towards his fundraising target of £26,200!

Mike raises awareness of the issues around ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) in every country he runs in, supported in his outstanding efforts by his wife Cat.

Team Harley now includes baby Lucy who watched Daddy race for the first time on Sunday and achieve a personal best!

Mike and Cat fund all their own travel and other expenses for the challenge so every penny raised goes the vital biomedical research funded by the charity.

The following extract is from a great article by Ed Stilliard, Chief City Reporter for Gloucester Live, published prior to the race, which includes the story of one of Mike’s friends with ME, Rachel Ephgrave, pictured below.


Bristolian Mike Harley, 36, is also running that race for his friend Rachel Ephgrave from Cheltenham who suffers from ME (myalgic encephalomyeltis), also known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

He wants to raise cash for the ME research charity Invest In ME ( and is dedicating the race to the Gloucestershire ME/CFS friendship group.

The Gloucester race is training for a challenge which he already part of the way through completing – a marathon in all 28 EU countries.

His next marathon is on March 17 in Cyprus which will be followed by marathons this year in Slovakia, Latvia, Hungary, Romania and Portugal.

He said: “I have raised nearly £15,000 so far and up to £250 for the race next Sunday already.

Former physics teacher Rachel Ephgrave, 43, who has had ME for 12 years, said: “It is so encouraging to see Mike raising awareness of ME and raising funds for biomedical research by running marathons across the EU.”

She said a quarter of those affected are either housebound or bedbound and it has forced her to rely on others to help her.

“Since becoming unwell I have had to give up my teaching career, I generally need to use a wheelchair to leave the house and have lost a large amount of my independence,” she said.

“I rely on my family and friends to help me with basic things like doing the washing, cooking, collecting my son from school and giving me lifts to medical appointments.

“ME is a difficult illness for others to understand as you can often appear well when seeing someone for an hour or two, then [a range of symptoms hit] later when you are on your own.

“When I am at my worst I struggle to think, have difficulty finding words and speaking in sentences, I find sound and light difficult to tolerate, I cannot concentrate to read or watch TV.

“I can be too weak to sit up or move around, and become freezing cold as I cannot control my body temperature.

“I have no choice but to lie still in the quiet, often in pain, until I start to feel better, while relying on others to look after me.

“Having been ill this long I know that my best hope is biomedical research into understanding the causes of this illness, hopefully leading to treatments.

“I have so many things that I want to do in life; an effective treatment cannot come soon enough for me and my family.”

To find out more about Mike’s challenge visit his webpage and to sponsor him click here.


Extract above from Road closures announced for marathon in Gloucester today.

Many thanks to Ed Stilliard, Gloucester Live, Mike Harley, Cat, Lucy, Rachel Ephgrave, Linda Hending and the Gloucestershire ME/CFS Friendship Group and to all Mike’s sponsors and supporters.

Please share the links widely to help Mike achieve his fundraising target and to help raise ME awareness across Europe.

Invest in ME Research is Chair and founding member of the European ME Alliance, which formed the European ME Research Group in 2015 and has just formed a European ME Clinicians Council.

Find Mike’s EU Marathons on Facebook and @MikesEUmaras on Twitter.

Mike’s excellent EU Marathons website and JustGiving page for donations.

Thank you for supporting Invest in ME Research!


What a Weekend for Fab Friends of People with ME!


In the sizzling summer heat Olivia Robinson and Rachel Froebel did the AJ Bell Triathlon and Mike Harley ran the Sturminster Newton Half Marathon in training for the next of his 28 EU Marathons for Invest in ME Research.

All three are raising awareness and vital biomedical research funds for the charity because their friends have Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME).

What’s Up TV also kicked off their campaign to help raise awareness of ME.


AJ Bell London Triathlon 2018


Actress Olive Robinson (pictured left) fitting in her training and the triathlon in the middle of 16 shows in Newcastle, explained…

“M.E. affects an estimated 250,000 people in the UK, and around 17 million people worldwide. One of those precious humans is my best friend of 25 years. A once, very active woman who now spends most of her days in a chair, bed or wheelchair. A reader, dog walker, runner, swimmer, weight lifter, shape-thrower (!) who’s bound by her body’s inability to produce energy. People have often asked me how I have been so diligent with my training and the answer is so simple…”

Read Olivia’s story

Rachel Froebel wrote…

“A very close friend of mine Sofija has been diagnosed with M.E. (Myalgic Encephaloyelitis, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome). It is a severe neurological disease that leaves 25% of patients bed bound. There is currently little treatment available on the NHS and no cure. Many people don’t understand the impact this disease has on people’s lives so I want to contribute to supporting this vital cause and would hugely appreciate your contributions.”

Read Rachel’s story


Mike’s EU Marathons

By Michael Harley…

“Over 250,000 people in the UK suffer with the ME and that includes 25,000 children as well as one of my good friends who has suffered for almost 10 years with the illness. Watching him drift from year to year without improvement is extremely hard to watch, I want to try to do something to stop this. He’s not depressed or making it up, he’s one of the most popular and positive people I know. He’s ill. Invest In ME ( are committed to raising funds and awareness to find the cause and cure and are a voluntarily run organisation doing some amazing work. They’re the only organisation really making progress in working with scientists and researchers to find cures and treatments. They will be opening a specialist centre of excellence for ME in 2018 where patients can get diagnosis and treatment and have even crowd-funded enough to hold their own clinical trials to find a cure/treatments. They are also funding the PhD’s of students investigating the cause and possible treatments of the disease.”

Read Mike’s story


What’s Up TV


On Saturday What’s Up TV opened their new series on Sky One (in which they hope to build awareness of ME) by featuring a performance of the powerful poem One Stupid Dot by Stacy Hart, who writes as Runnin On Empty (ROE) and makes music as the amazingly talented Mama Chill.


What a weekend – many thanks everyone supporting!


Runners wanted for Royal Parks Half Marathon October 2018

See more Fundraisers for Invest in ME Research 2018

International Ambassador for ME: Mike Harley

By Barbara Fifield via MillionsMissing Canada on Facebook and Twitter

Mike Harley, a very personable young man from Bristol England, has a best friend, Ian, who has been ill with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis for more than a decade.

Frustrated at seeing CBT and GET pushed on those suffering with a biomedical condition and wanting to do something substantial to help his friend, Mike decided to bring attention to, and raise funds for, biomedical research into ME. He then decided to do that by running in marathons.

Mike’s ambitious plan is to run a marathon in every country in the EU (European Union). That makes 28 in total, and so far he’s right on target.

Starting his venture in May 2015, Mike has run in an incredible nine races in nine different countries! He’s run in the UK, Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, Greece, Sweden, Poland, Belgium and France. He plans on running in five more each year, for the next three years, finishing up in 2020.

Next marathon up is number 10 in Barcelona, Spain, this coming weekend on Sunday March 12th, 2017. He’s hoping to meet up with a group of patients as well as some ME researchers.

Wherever Mike runs, he convenes with international ME associations, support groups, patients and press/media to promote the need and put pressure on governments to fund biomedical research projects. It’s his intention and mission to help highlight the struggle that ME patients live with, in each country that he visits.

He’s been on BBC Radio and featured on running websites. He’s also had previous press coverage in France, Czech Republic and Belgium.

Mike’s goal is to raise £26.2K ($42,000 Canadian approx.) So far he’s raised a whopping £5892.90 ($9,600)! All funds are going towards Invest in ME’s Rituximab Trial and the creation of their exciting new ME Centre of Excellence.

The ME community is well acquainted with the outstanding work that Invest in ME has done over the past 12 years of so. We’re all looking forward to their next conference coming up soon, where the ‘best of the best’ and the ‘latest and greatest’ is always featured on their agendas!

In our communication with Mike, he writes:

“I pay for all of my expenses (hotels, flights, race fees and kit) as I don’t want to spend a penny of patient’s donations on this. If I did, it would delay their access to a cure or treatments. I’m trying to secure corporate sponsorship to keep the challenge going as each race costs close to £700. If anyone within a business might be interested in helping from this perspective, which would be fantastic.

I’m not a natural runner. I’m 5ft 6 and not naturally athletic, so I find the running tough, but the support I’ve had over the first 2 years of the challenge has been genuinely life-changing for me. I now consider myself an advocate for the ME community and actively try to recruit others to complete sponsored events to fund ME research.”

What an inspiration this young man is – giving hope to millions.

With much thanks from the international ME community and your friends here at MillionsMissing Canada.

Go Mike! ♥

Please consider donating to Mike’s page. For those with ME, a donation to Mike and IiME is an investment in the future of us all!

Donation Page:

Donate by Texting: IIME82 and £3 to 70070

Facebook Page:



Mike’s EU Marathons for Invest in ME Research