Michael Branch's Marathon EitC Effort

If Michael Branch’s 5am alarm doesn’t do the trick, the former Everton striker needs only remember why he is running his first marathon for motivation to spring out of bed.

Branch is a Sports Support Worker for Everton in the Community [EitC] and was moved to raise funds for the Club’s official charity after witnessing first-hand the plight of some of the city’s young people during the coronavirus lockdowns.

The 43-year-old employs running as his own grounding tool and wants to inspire an awakening among EitC participants over the sport’s restorative effects.

Branch recorded his journey towards the uncharted territory of covering 26.2 miles on foot – in Sunday’s Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon – on his personal Instagram page.

“I got into my running over lockdown and it helped me mentally,” Branch told Everton’s official website.

“I have always wanted to run a marathon, so why not do it now and for such an incredible cause?

Sponsor Branch and donate to EitC here 

“L4 is one of the most deprived areas in the country and there are things I’ve seen and heard that I couldn’t believe were happening in our city.

“There were children who had no food, others with clothes that didn’t fit, so they wouldn’t go out and became isolated.

“EitC makes an enormous difference in the city.

“The charity provides life-changing opportunities and helps those in greatest need of support. We reach more than 100,000 people every year.

“I didn’t realise the scale of what we do until I began working for EitC and I wanted and needed to do this – both to help and for an amazing challenge.”

Branch is in fantastic physical condition but rowing back on an initial ambition to break three-and-a-half hours in the 24 October event.

His hamstrings were a bete noir during a football career that began with 45 appearances for Everton, following a debut aged 17 in February 1996, and included stops at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bradford City.

Michael Branch
L4 is one of the most deprived areas in the country and there are things I’ve seen and heard that I couldn’t believe were happening in our city. EitC makes an enormous difference.

“Same old,” he jokes regarding the muscle problem.

The marathon target is revised to sub-four hours, albeit with an archetypal competitor’s caveat of “seeing how training went in the final few weeks”.

Much more important than any personal goals, however, are the matters of generating money for EitC and encouraging the young people participating on the charity’s various programmes to lace up a pair of running shoes.

“I am really keen on getting the young kids on our programmes active and running,” said Branch.

“The benefits both physically and mentally are enormous.

“We already have football on our programmes and there is the potential to start putting on some running sessions.

“Running in the morning cleared my head and set me up for the day during the lockdowns.”

Branch created a fundraising page at and regularly posted about his training on Instagram at

“There was a half marathon I ran quite early in my training,” continued Branch. “I woke up at 5am and was out the door at 5.30. It was dark and raining and the run was around two hours.

“I have a little power nap on the couch after work.

“It is difficult getting up on these dark mornings but it has to be done.

“What EitC do for so many people is amazing and I want to help and make a difference any way I can.”

Sponsor Branch and donate to EitC here 

Follow Branch's marathon preparation on his Instagram page at