Courage and perseverance are two words amongst many others that describe the monumental achievement of Warwickshire runner Neal Abbotts on completing the London Marathon.
The 36-year old runner from Alcester, Warwickshire had tragically, been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) six weeks prior to the event but was determined to run the marathon. He refused to admit defeat despite having to quit his desk job due to pain caused by sitting and the increasing toll on his health caused by worsening symptoms of the disease.
Oddly enough, running appeared to ease the symptoms and this continued to be the case throughout his marathon training. He lost more than five and a half stone during his 18 months of preparation, always taking care not to overdo it and spoil his chances of running this race. This became even more important as the MS began to affect his mobility.
Neal decided to run London Marathon on behalf of The Children’s Society, raising funds for this charity that provides help and support to vulnerable children and young people. He believes that no child should be ‘written off’ irrespective of the circumstances and that all children deserve a decent start in life.
Neal’s produced a valiant effort to finish even though he ‘hit the wall’ at 22 miles due to his disease and fatigue. At this point, he was unable to feel the ends of his feet!
However, salvation arrived in the form of running legend Colin Jackson who ‘high fived’ him, motivating him to finish. He crossed the line in an amazing time of 4:21:53.
Post-race Neal expressed his pride at running for The Children’s Society. He has raised nearly £2,500 with donations continuing to pour in.
For more information about running for this charity in the 2017 London Marathon, visit The Children’s Society