A Sutton St James graphic designer is hoping to paint the perfect picture as a runner when he takes on the London Marathon next month.
Self-employed Phil Newton, who celebrates his 41st birthday on Thursday, is in the final stages of training for the 26.2-mile race from Greenwich to Westminster on Sunday, April 22.
I’ve always wanted to do it but I’ve never got round to training for it until now and this is a massive opportunity I couldn’t missPhil Newton, of Sutton St James
Phil has set himself two targets, to finish the race in less than four hours and also raise at least £1,750 for World Horse Welfare, a charity that rescues and rehomes abandoned and neglected horses.
He said: “I’ve been training since Christmas which was when I found out that I’d been offered a charity place in what will be my first-ever marathon.
“My training is going well, but it’s also been quite intense because the programme I’m on is designed to get me through the race in under four hours which is going to be extremely difficult.
“World Horse Welfare is a charity quite close to my heart because both me and my wife Vicki have been involved with it for a few years.
“The charity approached me as a supporter of theirs and asked if I wanted to do the London Marathon which I’ve always watched since I was a kid.
“I’ve always wanted to do it but I’ve never got round to training for it until now and this is a massive opportunity I couldn’t miss.”
Phil will have to run without having his wife in London to support him as Vicki is the charity’s international programme officer and her work means that she will be flying to China on the same day as the marathon.
But friends from Three Counties Running Club, which Phil is a member of, are planning to be there to cheer him on.
Phil said: “We heard about World Horse Welfare because we’ve rehomed horses in the past and it does a good job with horses that have been neglected, giving them a new lease of life.
“Vicki has always been interested in horses and after being together for 14 years, that’s rubbed off on me.
“I did the British 10K run in Westminster last July and I really enjoyed it, one reason why I’ve taken on the challenge of running an extra 32kms at the London Marathon (26.2 miles is just over 42kms).
“It’s going to be a long way but I have friends at Three Counties Running Club who have done it before and they told me that the crowd will give me the help I need if I hit a brick wall during the race.
“The club has been a massive help to me and it’s fantastic to be involved in it.”
World Horse Welfare, based in the Norfolk village of Snetterton, celebrated its 90th anniversary last year as “the voice of invisible horses all over the world”.
Founded by nurse Ada Cole in 1927 after she saw a team of neglected horses in a field in Belgium, the charity is committed to lobbying governments and international organisations in an effort to end the suffering of equine animals.
Last year, World Horse Welfare announced it had helped to cut the number of horses “transported over long distances across Europe to be slaughtered” from 180,000 in 2001 to 65,000 in 2010.
Phil said: “It’s a privilege to be running for such a great charity and I’m working hard to put everything into this run because of all the amazing work it does and the massive difference it makes to both equine and human lives, at home and abroad.”
To sponsor Phil, go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com and search under his name.