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ExtraCare’s Simon on running the first ever virtual London Marathon

ExtraCare’s Cluster Contract Manager, Simon Downton, is taking on the challenge of the virtual London Marathon this Sunday, 4th October to raise vital funds for our charity’s care, well-being and dementia services.

Vital Stats:
Days to virtual race = 6
Days to London Marathon 2021 = 370
Longest run so far = 22 miles
Next target = the virtual race! (26.2 miles)
Donations to date = £1,735.00

This Sunday I will run the London Marathon’s first ever virtual race and I can’t wait! I love the countryside so have chosen to take on the 26.2 miles along the Tissington Trail in Derbyshire. The route spans Ashbourne to Buxton, along a bridleway, footpath, and cycleway.

Despite the many hurdles this year has sprung, I have already reached the 22-mile mark during training. The biggest challenge I have faced during this time has been, as you would expect, COVID-19. The restrictions put in place as a result had meant that some of the smaller races I had entered, such as the Birmingham and Black Country Half Marathons, were cancelled.

Although the London Marathon has this year gone virtual, I have, thankfully, been allocated a place in next year’s race which is due to take place in October 2021. So, after the virtual race, I’ll continue my training in the lead up to the race next year. This is something I have always wanted to do, I’ve thought about it for a long time, and – all being well – it will be something I can officially tick off my bucket list next year!

For anyone reading this who is contemplating taking up running or challenging themselves to complete an organised run, my tip is to start off slow. Break it down so that you first tackle 5k and then 10k, and so on so on. If you can, join a running club and take time to research and invest in the right trainers and running clothes, it can make all the difference.

I’d like to express my thanks for all the kind donations I have received so far. All the money I raise will go back to ExtraCare to help them deliver vital support services for our residents. I am a great believer in the work that ExtraCare do for its residents, we really do create better lives for older people. Wish me luck!

If you’d like to show your support to Simon this Sunday, please donate what you can at