Mystery hero found thanks to appeal

jpco-17-7-13 Ian Parker holding his London2Brighton medal (Pic by Jon Rigby)
jpco-17-7-13 Ian Parker holding his London2Brighton medal (Pic by Jon Rigby)

A marathon man who saved a German couple from a holiday nightmare has successfully been found through an appeal in the Crawley Observer.

We published a story about a German couple who were searching for their ‘mystery marathon man’ last week (July 10).

The appeal from Bernd and Ursula Requardt explained how they began their tour of the UK by driving from Heathrow airport to Crawley in a hire car.

When they became lost they asked passing runner Ian Parker, from Furnace Green, for help.

Ian helped them find a hotel and mend a puncture. The couple were so thankful they wrote an appeal to find him once they returned home.

Ian, 34, said he had told some of his friends and family about the experience and was contacted by many of them after they saw the appeal in the paper.

He said: “I didn’t know whether he was pulling my leg but then my sister and other people both told me as well.”

He explained how Bernd had approached him outside the Furnace Green shops.

He said: “He was trying to get to Staplefield! I tried to explain it to them and I thought I’m not getting anywhere trying to explain it.”

Ian got in the car and planned to stay with them until they reached Handcross then direct from there.

He said:“On our way he hit the curb outside Thomas Bennett School and I thought ‘he’s got a burst tyre’.

“They looked in a bit of distress so I just got out the tyre and changed it for them.”

By this point it was 9.30pm so Ian took them to a nearby hotel and left them there.

Ian said he never imagined he would see the story written in the paper weeks later.

He said: “I was so surprised to see that in the paper. I was quite touched - really touched. It was a sweet message.

“They were a very nice couple and it was the least I could do so I’m pleased they had a nice trip.”

The paper has put the couple in contact with Ian.

Ian went on to complete the 100km run in aid of Cancer Research on May 25 and finished in just over 12 hours, putting him 26th place out of 1,800.

Just minutes after the run Ian collapsed and was treated in hospital for a loss of fluids.

But the ordeal has not deterred him from fund raising and he said he planned to take part in a ‘ultra duathlon’ next year which involves a 40km run and a 100km cycle.