“Forrest Gump” Runs 42 Back-to-Back Marathons
Have you ever taken part in something sponsored for charity – something you have had to really push yourself for, to raise as much money as possible?
Most of us have thought about it at least, but it’s really heartening to see those people who put their bodies on the line and show us just how many good people there are still out there.
Take Ewan Gordon from Bicester in England, for example. He has just completed 42 marathons in the name of raising money in memory of a little boy called Thomas Laurie, who we’ll tell you a little about now.
Thomas had a rare condition called Cockayne Syndrome, also known as Neill-Dingwall Syndrome. It is a neurodegenerative disorder, meaning it affects the neurons that are key to the central nervous system. It is thought to affect only one in 500,000 children, but it’s difficult to diagnose.
The condition is genetic and is diagnosed in childhood, sometimes from birth, and the prognosis is never good – most only live to between three and seven years old. Among other characteristics, patients will suffer from premature ageing, photosensitivity (sunburn really easily), and slow development.
Thomas was nine when he passed away peacefully in Helen & Douglas House in Oxford, last year. Ewan wanted to raise some money and awareness for the charities that looked after Thomas in his short life and decided that running in the boy’s memory would be a great way of doing that.
Ewan was to run the length of the UK, from John O’Groats in Scotland to Land’s End in Cornwall. The distance of this trek is about 1,050 miles (1,700km), and would be broken up into 42 marathons.
Completing 42 marathons is quite something, but what’s even more impressive is completing that many in the same number of days – 42 marathons in 42 days!
A friend told Ewan that they would sponsor him more if he dressed up as Forrest Gump, so that became the new plan. If you haven’t seen the iconic movie, the title character, Forrest, runs across America and attracts a huge following of people.
So Ewan grew out his hair and let his beard grow free, and soon he was ready. Running about 26 miles (42km) a day, Ewan managed to attract his own followers, with some people joining him for parts of his run.
“People just think it is really funny,” he said, “and a lot of people just shout, ‘Run, Forrest, run!’.”
On arriving at Land’s End, 42 days after starting and having run a marathon every single day, Ewan could finally relax. And on examining himself, he found he didn’t have a single blister! “Your body just gets used to running that far every day,” he explained.
The money he raised – over £10,000 at the time of writing – is being split between four charities chosen by Thomas’ family. These are Amy and Friends Cockayne Syndrome Support, Helen & Douglas House, ROSY (Respite for Oxfordshire’s Sick Youngsters), and Lifelites.
“He’s supporting the charities that supported us and we’re so happy that he is carrying on Thomas’ legacy in a positive way,” said Thomas’ mum, Catherine. “We are so very proud of Ewan and totally humbled by his fundraising in memory of Thomas.”
To find out more about Ewan’s run and see more photos of his journey, check out the event’s Facebook page. If you wish to donate to any of the charities in Thomas’ memory, you can find details of that on the page as well.
“Like Forrest Gump, I run because I feel the need to and I will stop when my work is done,” Ewan said. “I will stop when they find a cure to Cockayne Syndrome.”
And all we can add to that is… “Run, Forrest, run!”