Monday, 23 January 2012

Mission possible thanks to marathon runner

A Horley estate agent who ran the New York Marathon for Surrey Air Ambulance has raised enough sponsorship to fund a potentially life-saving mission.

White & Sons partner Simon Watkins, 61, was spurred on by his wife Gail and son Oliver as he completed the run in 4hrs, 22mins.

He clocked a further 500 miles in three-and-a-half months in preparation for the marathon last November.

The Sidlow resident has also run the London and Chicago marathons but the New York challenge was his toughest so far.

He said: “The atmosphere was just incredible as there was a million-and-a-half people in the crowd shouting and screaming as we went through Queens, Harlem and Manhattan.

“I went round with a smile on my face the whole time and they carried me through because I was having problems with my legs. There were four bridges to cross which took it out of me.

“I wanted to try and break four hours and was on target until 21 miles but then I was almost on my knees for the last five. When I crossed the finish line people were collapsing all around me.

“Every thirty seconds we had to move out of the way for an ambulance to come and pick up some of the runners. It was like a battlefield.”

In total, Simon raised £2,448 for Surrey Air Ambulance which relies almost entirely on public donations.

He presented his cheque to Pilot Pete Driver, Dr Mark Salmon and critical care paramedic Adam Heywood at the helicopter base last week (January 19th).

Each call-out costs the emergency service about £2,500 so the sum raised by Simon will fund a potentially life-saving mission.

Simon added “I was moved to support them after hearing how they save lives and how their quick response and skills give people the best chance of returning to a near normal life.

“I started running in 2003 when I accepted a challenge to do the London Marathon. The person who challenged me said, ‘I will if you will’. I did and she didn’t!”

Simon will now be setting his sights on a sporting clay shoot in aid of Surrey Air Ambulance at Bisley on May 16th, sponsored by White & Sons.

Teams of four are needed to take part in a day’s shooting including breakfast, lunch and tuition. Beginners and experienced shooters are welcome.

For more details call Surrey Air Ambulance Head of Fundraising Julie Jenkinson on 07843 336720.

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