This Sunday, over 20,000 people will be taking to the streets of Brighton to run the Brighton Marathon.
Over the last few years, the Brighton Marathon has successfully made a name for itself as the seaside alternative to the London Marathon. Gone are the days when people brushed the event off as a London warm-up. You can even argue that there are now many that would rather swap Big Ben for Brighton Pier.
As at many of these events, Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research is well represented by a small army of brilliant fundraisers. A name that stood out on our 2013 list was Mark Giles.
Mark is part of a family that was awarded at one of our end-of-season sports ceremonies back in 2009, a night that Mark describes as ‘a very humbling experience’. The reason he and his family began fundraising for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research was due to the loss of his mother, Rosalind Walker, who succumbed to chronic myeloid leukaemia in December 2008.
Mark began fundraising for us at the Great South Run and the Bath Half Marathon, back in 2008 while his mum was still able to cheer him on from the sidelines. Mark decided to run for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research once again at the Bath Half Marathon in 2009, and then in 2010 Mark and a small group of his friends and family decided it was time to up the stakes and take on the London Marathon. Mark emphasises the importance of having so many of them taking part in the marathon - ‘there was a real gang of us all helping to raise awareness’.
Unfortunately, things didn’t quite come together for his first marathon attempt. “After all the training for London Marathon 2010, I was ready to go, but missed out when I became stranded in Australia due to the Icelandic ash cloud. I was stranded in Australia for an extra two weeks and missed out on the marathon. I was absolutely gutted following all the training, preparation and desire to run the marathon with my brother and sister.”
Luckily he was able to defer his marathon place to 2011 and completed the 26.2 miles successfully. As if all the fundraising he, his family, and his friends have done for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research wasn’t enough, Mark is now faced with the prospect of his second full marathon this Sunday on home turf in Brighton.
Mark cites the important goals for Sunday as "raising awareness, improving my time, and hopefully beating my brothers. I've persuaded my friends Juliet, Julian and Phill to all run as well, and they have all contributed greatly to raising funds. I know that all three have suffered injuries through their training for the big event, but have persevered and are ready to go. Training has been tough, particularly through the harsh winter and I had remained injury free until last Saturday when I tweaked my calf. But fingers crossed things will come together."
Mark’s a great example of an Unstoppable with an incredible determination to keep fundraising for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Being one of our top fundraisers once again is no mean feat and I’m sure we’ll be seeing him and his friends at many more of our events in years to come.
To sponsor Mark, please visit his fundraising page.
To find out more information on the Brighton Marathon, please visit their official website.