It's 'make or break' for marathon man John

THE Flora London Marathon takes place this weekend, and one Barkway man is warming up those running shoes in preparation. John Witchell, 59, who lives in the village High Street, will be running the marathon on Sunday for Marie Curie Cancer Care. It s ma

THE Flora London Marathon takes place this weekend, and one Barkway man is warming up those running shoes in preparation.

John Witchell, 59, who lives in the village High Street, will be running the marathon on Sunday for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

"It's make or break now. My training has been going reasonably well, although I had a knee injury which is ok some days and bad others.

"It's always been an ambition to have a go at the Marathon so here I am."


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John, who is chief executive of music charity The Federation of Music Services, runs regularly to keep fit and is a member of the Royston Runners, which has 15 members running this year's event.

His motivation to run the London Marathon later in life stems partly from seeing his father lose his fitness at an early age.

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"My father used to be a runner - he ran for Bangor University and was the Welsh champion at 440 yards in 1928.

"He stopped running when he started working and by the time he was 60 he couldn't run anymore.

"That's one of the things that motivated me."

And, to make the challenge more special both John and Marie Curie will be celebrating their 60th birthdays this year.

"A lot of people think I'm mad. They say, 'why are you doing it now?'

"I think being 60 is nothing - there are people a lot older that run the marathon.

"I didn't know that it was Marie Curie's 60th anniversary when I signed up, but it's lovely that it coincides with my 60th birthday."

John has not set himself a fund-raising target, but says that if he could raise £2,000 it would be great.

"I am keen to support Marie Curie as the care they provide is so important.

"My wife, Alison, lost both parents to cancer when she was a teenager. You never know when cancer is going to strike."

John is hoping to complete the marathon in four and a half hours.

He said: "I have not run 26 miles in my life although I did run the Oakley 20 miles three weeks ago.

"My plan is to go really steady."

To make a donation to John visit www.justgiving. com/johnwitchell

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