Paul aims to take London Marathon charity fund-raiser in his stride
- Credit: supplied
Paul Barkshire has gone from non-runner to marathon runner and is taking part in the London Marathon on Sunday for Children with Cancer UK.
Lings Motor Group director Paul Barkshire is finalising preparations before he runs the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday.
Running on behalf of Children with Cancer UK, Paul has so far raised more £8,000 for the charity. Children with Cancer UK was inaugurated in 1988 by Diana Princess of Wales and is the leading national children's charity dedicated to the fight against childhood cancer.
Almost 4,000 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer every year in the UK – the biggest killer of children by far in the UK. The charity aims to determine the causes, find cures and provide care for children with cancer.
Paul has clocked up hundreds of miles of running over the past six months of training, including a 20-mile Wymondham race and City of Norwich Half Marathon. It's not small mileage for a regular runner but Paul started out as complete novice, having never pounded the pavement in anger before.
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'It's been a massive journey,' said Paul. 'While I'd always tried to keep myself fit to a small degree through five-a-side football, and to be honest, I thought the days of getting up so early and running for 15 or 16 miles had long passed me by. And really, after the first 500 yards of my first ever run, I thought that was definitely the case!
'But now I pass the street sign that used to be my limit as part of the warm up... it's fair to say that if there is such a thing as a 'running bug' I've definitely caught it.'
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Paul has fought his share of adversity along the way. His training has had to be carefully managed to ensure he doesn't aggravate a serious injury suffered in his early 20s when a road collision left him paralysed in one leg and with seriously restricted leg movement for years afterwards.
This hasn't stopped him though, and Paul has been a regular feature on the streets of his home town of Attleborough and the surrounding countryside, stacking up the miles and building up for the main event on Sunday which is also his 34th wedding anniversary.
'It's not quite how I expected to mark the occasion,' he admitted. 'But it'll make for a heck of a tale for the grandchildren!'
'I'd also like to add my special thanks to my wife, Bridget, and to everybody who has supported me with advice and donations along the way. Your kind donations couldn't be going to a more deserving cause and it's really helped keep me motivated on the cold winter mornings. It means the world to me and I know Children with Cancer UK has been overwhelmed by the generosity shown.'
To donate to Children with Cancer via JustGiving and support Paul on his Marathon effort, log on to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Paul-Barkshire or visit Lings Motor Group in Riverside Road, Lowestoft, where you'll find collection boxes to boost his cause.