My dad first ran the London Marathon in 1988.
It's fair to say that he was a keen runner, dragging my mum and I along on cold, wet Sunday mornings to wait at the finish of one of his runs. Fast forward to 2019 and I'm now doing the same to my other half and my two young sons!
After my dad passed away in September this year, whilst sorting through paperwork and old folders, my mum stumbled across a letter that his Uncle George had written for me, when I was aged 7, about watching my dad complete the London Marathon.
My Great Uncle George was a very active man, rarely stopping as he was always keeping busy. But on the morning of the 7th running of the event in 1988, he stopped what he was doing and sat and watched the full coverage on TV from his home in Cambridge.
To his amazement, he spotted my Dad as he was running through The Isle of Dogs. He was so proud to see him taking part, that he got his typewriter out (this was back in 1988!) and sat and typed a letter that he hoped I would some day read and take inspiration from.
This is the letter we found that had been unread for the past 31 years:
For someone to take the time to do this is almost unthinkable in todays day and age. With the world of social media, WhatsApp and other technology, the thought of writing a letter to someone is very rare, so seeing the time and effort that went into this message that I received is amazing.
When my dad passed away in September, it was a real shock. He had been ill for a couple of months but was then diagnosed with Oesophageal cancer. He passed away 4 days after his 68th birthday.
Discovering the letter was both sad, as it brought back fond memories of Dad, but also inspiring in what he had achieved. I was also proud to think that a relative had taken the time to write to me about something he had witnessed.
As a 7 year old kid, I often went races with my dad but got quite bored as it involved a lot of hanging around. Now, as a father to two young boys myself, it makes me proud to think about what Dad achieved and how I have followed in his footsteps!
Me as a young boy usually involved eating and
drinking at the start/finish while my Dad was out running!
Once I read this letter there was only one thing I wanted to do, run the London Marathon! I was already in the ballot for 2020, but knowing how poor the odds were on getting in, I knew I wanted to run for a charity, especially one linked to fighting cancer.
With that in mind, I contacted the cancer charity, Anthony Nolan, and I'm pleased to say that they've welcomed me onboard their team for the 2020 London Marathon. I wanted to run for a charity that work in an area that has affected my family and many others in raising funds and awareness of them.
And on a personal level, I'll be following in my Dad's footsteps once again, 32 years after he first ran the London Marathon, having taken my Great Uncle's words onboard.
Roll on 26th April 2020!