Running for a friend who died in a road accident has spurred a restaurant owner to complete his first London Marathon in five hours, 13 minutes.
Mario Di Giorgio, from Ampthill, also raised an impressive £9,363.75 for the charity Starlight, which grants once-in-a-lifetime wishes for seriously and terminally ill children.
Mario, a director at Fratellis restaurant, ran in memory of Mark Davey, from Luton, who died in a car crash aged just 33.
On his 30th birthday, Mark made a pledge to raise £30,000 for Starlight after the charity made his wish to meet his hero Terry Sheringham while he was suffering from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma when he was twelve-years-old come true.
Mark had raised around £8,500, through organising charity boxing matches and running the famous 26-mile Marathon himself.
Within a few weeks of his death that total had risen to £30,000.
Mark’s family and friends have continued raising money for Starlight in Mark’s memory and have raised more than £80,000.
Now, Mark’s family and friends are determined to hit a new target of £100,000, enabling Starlight to make around 30 seriously or terminally ill children’s dreams come true.
Mario, 37, 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.
“It was really important to me to help Mark’s family reach their goal of raising £100,000 for Starlight.”
He added: “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.”
Mario’s fundraising total is still growing.
To make a donation, to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/MarioDiGiorgi or call Starlight directly on 020 7262 288