Runners inspired by personal stories of family and friends

Martyn Pollard
Martyn Pollard

Marathon runners tackling the city challenge have been inspired by personal experience of pain and tragedy.

Martyn Pollard, from Bedford, is running the Virgin Money London Marathon for Arthritis Research UK after seeing his wife’s daily struggle with the condition. He is aiming to raise £2,000 to help the charity fund research into arthritis, a condition that affects 10 million people in the UK and causes debilitating pain and fatigue.

Mario Di Giorgio

Mario Di Giorgio

He said: “My wife is disabled through arthritis that started at the age of 38. I have seen her in such pain on her bad days, unable to get out of bed or dress herself.

“Her condition continues to get worse and none of the treatment options so far have made any difference. It is heart-breaking to see her in pain. I also see the effects of arthritis on a daily basis as the paramedic for the East of England ambulance service.”

Director of Fratellis restaurant in Ampthill, Mario Di Giorgio, 37, is to run on Sunday, April 24, for the Starlight Children’s Foundation, the UK’s wish granting charity for children and young people with serious and terminal illness.

Mario is running in memory of his friend Mark Davey, who died in a car crash on the A6 near Bedford, aged 33. Starlight granted Mark’s wish to meet his hero, footballer Teddy Sheringham, while he was suffering from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma when he was 12.

On his 30th birthday, Mark pledged to raise £30,000 for Starlight and his family and friends have continued raising money in his memory and have raised more than £80,000.

Mario said: “I hadn’t done a lot of running before I signed up for the London Marathon and decided to take on the challenge because Mark was a really close friend of mine and it was really important to me to help Mark’s family reach their goal of raising £100,000 for Starlight. We all think about him and miss him every day. Hopefully this will start a tradition of his friends running the marathon in his memory for years to come.”

Visit http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MarioDiGiorgi and Martyn Pollard.