On Sunday, 3rd October, first-time marathon runner David Blake took part in the London Marathon, raising over £3,300 for Wood Street Mission.
The marathon was initially meant to be run by David’s wife Lucy, but she had to pull out after struggling with her asthma during training. David stepped in two months prior to the marathon, taking her place, and he managed to complete the gruelling race in just over four hours.
What a day that was. Ran my 1st marathon in just over 4hrs and tipped over £3.3k raised for @WoodSt_Mission
Thanks to everyone who came out, sent messages and pledged donations 🙏 it’s been such an amazing, life-affirming experience.
— David Blake (@David8Blake) October 4, 2021
David said: “I always thought running looked really boring, you’re on your own just…running. I ended up having a lot of free time though like most people over lockdown, so I decided to give it a go.
“I actually ended up enjoying it and I can see why people do it now, I just ended up running further and further each time. It took just over four hours (4hrs 5mins to be exact) which I’m really pleased with, though now it’s niggling me to think that if I hadn’t stopped twice for the toilet and twice to retie my laces, could I have managed under four hours? I think so. My mates think not. So, I’m going to have to do another now… just to see.”
David and his wife, Lucy, chose to donate to Wood Street Mission after Lucy helped them deliver their Christmas appeal last year. The appeal ensured that thousands of children across Salford and Manchester woke up with new toys to open on Christmas morning.
David said: “People might not know but Greater Manchester has one of the worst child poverty records in the UK, if not the worst. A recent report said there are around 200,000 children living in poverty in Greater Manchester – that’s almost a third of children.
“This isn’t a new thing, and it’s only getting worse. I don’t want to get too political here, but we all know why it’s getting worse… this is a government that opposed feeding hungry children in the middle of a pandemic but will happily spend £250m on a new national yacht. That’s why charities like WSM are more important than ever.”
Despite marathons being challenging enough on their own, David felt more pressure to reach the fundraising target than to run the actual race. With the money that he raised, Wood Street Mission is now able to provide 700 new books, 350 Christmas toys, or 175 winter coats for the children.
David said: “It’s really easy to get inside your head during marathons like that because they’re so difficult. If I ever felt like I was losing hope I just tried to picture the money I was raising going towards a brand-new winter coat that would keep a child warm and dry in the playground over winter. It spurred me to keep going.”