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Alistair Thomson, a 35-year-old financial controller for Star Pubs & Bars, sadly lost his mum in January and vowed to raise funds for the Marie Curie hospice in Edinburgh where she stayed for her final few weeks.
Believing that running one marathon wouldn’t raise enough attention and despite his friends warning, he decided he would complete the incredible feat of running 12 marathons in 12 months, with the final one provisionally scheduled for January 27, 2022 to mark the first anniversary of his mum's death.
Despite this being such a huge challenge, Alistair didn’t actually do too much training before launching himself into his first marathon.
He said, “I’m a regular cyclist and knew that I was capable of cycling 100 miles so I thought I would have the latent level of fitness to run a marathon. I would never have said I was a runner before, and still wouldn’t! But it was a question of converting that cycling fitness into marathon running.”
When asked why he chose to run marathons instead of doing what he knew, he added: “Because I am a cyclist and I know I can do that, I wanted to do something new to make it a real challenge. I also wanted to make sure I raised as much money as possible and I know in people’s minds, running marathons is probably seen as more impressive than cycling long distances.
“I actually asked my friend what he thought and he said ‘why not just one marathon?’ but that’s no fun. I knew I had to catch people’s attention to raise as much as possible.
“Motivation hasn’t been hard to come by. I know why I’m doing it and that’s what spurs me on. My dad, wife and son have been at the start and finish line of every marathon I’ve done so far.
“A friend of mine whose dad died four or five years ago told me that he found running helped deal with the grief and he wasn’t wrong. Instead of having to think constantly about organising a funeral and the other tough mental processes, I was able to spend a few hours just focusing on the numbers on my watch.
“It’s also been a great sense of achievement being able to raise money and giving something back to the hospice. I have so far raised almost £19,000 which equates to 2 days of care at the hospice. The fundraising has also been matched by the Pears Foundation so rather than the 1 day of care I set out to raise, the challenge has led to 4 days’ worth.”
So far, Alistair has run four of his 12 marathons and has his eyes set on the Heineken Race to the Castle event as his fifth.
He added: “Even doing it with a friend who cycled with me the whole time made a huge difference so I’m really looking forward to running alongside hundreds of others. This is one that I’m really excited for, the beautiful views, the company and hopefully some nice weather.”
Those wishing to donate can do so on the JustGiving page.