I count myself very lucky in my job that I get to meet some incredible and inspirational people. I’ve done my fair share of voluntary work in my local community and have even turned my hand to a half marathon for a cause very close to my own heart. But training for a full marathon is an undertaking I’ve never been brave enough to tackle.
I take my hat off to the many tens of thousands of runners who will take to the streets of London this weekend for what is arguably the world’s greatest running challenge. On this occasion I’ll be sat at home on my comfy sofa watching the crowds of selfless fundraisers cleverly pacing themselves as they pass famous British monuments for mile after mile.
And I’m proud to say some of my work colleagues will be among those taking on this mammoth challenge. Here’s a little bit about them and the source of their motivations.
If like me, you have admiration for these dedicated and hard-working amateur athletes, please dig deep and give what you can for these charities so special to them.
By day he’s Area Manufacturing Manager for our Teesside Beam Mill in the North East of England. But outside of work Danny has run more than 2,500 miles and raised more than £4,000 for charities dear to him.
In order to fit in his hectic training schedule along with his demanding role, Danny has been running at all hours of day and night with his favourite playlist of up-tempo songs to keep him company.
He’s running this year’s London Marathon in honour of his nana who passed away this year. He hopes to raise more than £1,000 for Dementia Concern as this is an illness that took his grandad in 2013.
Danny explained how he took up running in response to the loss of grandad Bob.
“I grieved over the loss of my best friend and role model. I needed to turn that grief into something positive, so I took up running. I started with a 3-mile Parkrun and later that year ran the Great North Run for the charity Mind to raise money for its local branch in Redcar.
“Sadly my nana passed away this year. She was my biggest fan so I’m running the 2018 London Marathon in honour of her.
“Knowing everything I’m doing and sacrificing is going to benefit someone else who is not fit or well enough to do so is what keeps me going. I feel I’m in a privileged position to be able to help others.”
Danny will be snacking on frozen pizza this weekend in preparation for his race and swears by washing it down with a glass of milk to give him the energy he needs to get him through the gruelling 26 miles that lie ahead.
But it will undoubtedly be the memories of his nana and grandad that will drive him forward on this emotional journey in aid of Dementia Concern.
John Berry and his wife Ami will be running the London Marathon together in a bid to raise money in honour of a little boy who bravely battles the condition Becker Muscular Dystrophy.
John’s 130-mile a day commute to his role of Corporate Development Manager at our offices in Scunthorpe, North Lincolnshire, means he has very little time left for training.
John’s hoping his secret weapon of Nutella–covered bagels will give him the much-needed energy to tackle the longest run he’s ever attempted. But ultimately it will be thoughts of his friend’s son - 6-year-old Jett - that will drive him forward on behalf of Muscular Dystrophy UK.
“My eldest son is the same age as Jett and to see the difference in ability and quality of life is heart-breaking,” John explained.
“Jett only began to walk at the age of 2 and now he can run a little – however this is only expected to be temporary. Jett suffers from pain and stiffness and screams out in excessive discomfort.
“We see him every few months and you can see him deteriorating, it’s heart breaking.
“At his recent 6th birthday party he struggled to join in with the other children and it will be these thoughts and the courage he has shown that will keep me going on Sunday.”
Good luck to Danny and John, and everyone else who is taking on the London Marathon this weekend. And for the rest of us mere mortals we can witness the grit and determination of 40,000 runners from the comfort of our homes from 8.30am on BBC 1.