Horsham man returns from epic challenge

Graham Clarke SUS-140417-153755001
Graham Clarke SUS-140417-153755001

Mature student Graham Clarke from Horsham has just returned from an epic challenge after running the Greater Manchester marathon on April 6th, followed by a 300 mile cycle tour which ended in London, where he ran London Marathon raising over £2500 so far for Action on Addiction.

Having completed the marathon distance before, Graham decided it was time to step up for a bigger challenge in order to try to raise more money for the charity. He trained hard for months to ensure the challenge could be completed as he did not want to let anyone down, the supporters or the charity.

When training was going well, just four weeks before the event, tragedy struck when Graham lost a 23-year-old friend to addiction related causes.

Graham said on the matter: “It was extremely hard to continue, but I knew I had to do it for Nancy now. The family got behind me and asked to take a collection at the funeral, which was extremely touching. I put the whole thing into Nancy’s memory and carried a picture of her around at the marathons.”

Upon starting the challenge at Manchester Marathon, Graham injured his foot and had to run/walk to the finish in hope that this would be enough for the foot to remain usable for the week. The next day involved 65 miles of mountains in the Peak District, as well as a long downpour of rain to add insult to injury. A broken chain later in the week added miles to another day when Graham had to head in the wrong direction to find a cycle shop.

Keeping a positive attitude all the way, Graham made it to London on Saturday April 5 and made his final preparations for London Marathon.

On the start line he could feel some pain in his foot from last week’s injury but knew nothing was stopping him after coming this far. After an incredibly emotional closing 26.2 miles, Graham crossed the line in 4:26.58, his fastest marathon so far by 15 minutes!

In taking on this challenge, Graham hoped to raise around £3,000 to help Action on Addiction with their lifesaving work. Addiction is the biggest preventable killer in the UK. Destroying lives, harming communities and breaking up families, addiction affects us all in some way.

Action on Addiction is the only charity working across the addiction field in research, prevention, treatment, professional education, support for families and children and campaigns.

You can sponsor Graham by visiting www.justgiving.com/grahamclarkeruns or by texting GRUN86 £5 to 70070.

Report and picture contributed.