A 57-year-old ultramarathon runner is determined to complete a gruelling ten marathons in ten days in memory of MasterChef contestant Matt Campbell who died after collapsing during the London Marathon.
George Sherriffs is preparing for his most demanding endurance challenge to date when he embarks on ten marathons around Lake Windermere on consecutive days starting Friday.
The acquisitions librarian at the Royal Botanic Gardens is one of 20 runners raising cash for the Brathay Trust – a charity that inspires vulnerable young people to make positive changes in their lives.
It is the same charity for which 29-year-old Matt, from Kendal in Cumbria, was raising money when he collapsed at the 22.5 mile mark during this year’s London Marathon.
He aimed to raise £2,500 for the Brathay Trust, but more than £350,000 has been donated since he died.
George said: “There is an added motivator this year as we will be thinking of Matt Campbell who was running for Brathay at the London Marathon, and his tragic death has spurred an incredible wave of public goodwill and generosity. We are all pledging to #FinishForMatt.
“I met Matt once and he was such a nice chap. It was tragic what happened to him. There’s always going to be people who say running marathons is bad for you. You train for the marathons so you’re ready but you can’t prepare for what happened to Matt.”
George, who completed his first marathon in Aberdeen in 1985, has gone on to run 54 long distance events around Europe.
His aim is to become a member of the 100 Marathon Club and if he completes his next quest will only be 36 marathons away from his goal.
The father of two said: “Initially the challenge of ten marathons in ten days was something I wanted to do for me. But then I discovered the amazing work that the Brathay Trust does. When I went for training I met a girl who had been helped by the charity and she moved us all to tears. The challenge of how far can I go in a short space of time is exciting. I’ve done marathons back to back before and thought I could probably do another.
“My aim is to become a member of the 100 marathon club. I’ve done 54 so far – after completing this it will be 64.
“I’ve run all over the UK and also in Posnan, Gdansk and Berlin. I can’t wait to start.
“There’s always highs and lows with marathons and I know it’s going to be tough. However I’m determined to keep going and finish.”
George, from Mortonhall, is now finalising his preparations for the 262 mile test that awaits him.
He said: “I have concentrated on running within myself, working on my overall fitness and generally making sure there is plenty in the tank when I take my place on the start line. Being the only Scot doing it this year adds to the sense of responsibility and pride.”
To donate go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/georgesherriffs10in10