A father, who has run nearly 20 full marathons, is challenging his first-timer son to tackle the London Marathon with him to raise money for Jersey Hospice in memory of a "dear family friend".
This will be Matthew Gordon’s first full marathon, but his father, Adrian, has already run 18 between Jersey, London, Amsterdam and Berlin.
The father and son pair are among a group of eight islanders who have decided to take on the gruelling 26.2-mile course to raise funds for Jersey Hospice, a record number for the palliative care charity. Rev Mark Barrett, Hannah Bechelet, Tom Boswell, Sarah Harris, Mark Kelly and Martin Knox all hope to cross the finish line in The Mall.
Adrian (54) and Matthew (30) have previously run half-marathons together in Jersey and in Newcastle for ‘The Great North Run’, as well as number of 5Ks. This will be the first time they run a long distance together and they plan on sticking with each other for the all course. “I’ll try and keep up with dad,” Matthew jokes.
For the Dandy chef, running a marathon has always been a personal goal to achieve before his 30th birthday this year.
Pictured: Adrian and Matthew before the Great North Run.
“As a young boy, I’ve seen what it takes to complete this challenge, as I have great memories of supporting my dad from the side-lines and cheering him on to the finish line,” Matthew said.
“He was the one who got me into running and having completed the Great North Run, local half marathons and countless 5Ks, I now have the opportunity to run the hardest challenge to date with the man who has inspired me from the beginning.”
Adrian, who previously ran the London Marathon, says the event is a “fantastic experience” that he has wanted to share with Matthew for a long time. “It’s the most amazing thing,” he said. “It’s an incredible atmosphere. You are with 45,000 runners and there people alongside for the whole course cheering you on. It just brings everyone together.”
“I remember the first time I ran it, when I crossed the line, I told myself I wanted to do it again,” Adrian adds. “I hope Matthew gets to experience the way I did!"
Pictured: Adrian says running the London Marathon was a "fantastic experience".
When the pair runs, they always do it for charity – “If you have a gift and you are able to use it, why not?” says Adrian. This time, they will putting their trainers on for Jersey Hospice, a charity close to Adrian’s heart.
He has been a volunteer for the charity for the last 15 years, since they cared for “a dear family friend” during her battle with cancer. “It spurred me on to be involved and support it every way I can when I saw the care they gave to her. It’s the most incredible place,” Adrian explained.
“Most people have been in contact with the charity or have a connection with it,” Matthew says. “Plus you never know what the future holds,” adds Adrian.
While running the London Marathon is “a great opportunity to raise the profile of Hospice” and raise money for the charity, Adrian says it’s also the occasion to get to do something together that not many people get to do.
Pictured: Jersey Hospice Care is a charity close to the Gordon family's heart.
“We are not fitness freaks; we just enjoy running. It’s been fun to train together,” he adds. “There’s been highs and lows with the training,” Matthew chimes in, jokingly.
The pair says they were pleased with how generous people have been with their donations, adding that they are on target to raise £8,500 for the charity. Each of the marathon runners pledged to raise a minimum of £2,500, making a total of £20,000 - just over enough to run Jersey Hospice Care for the day.
“There has been a real sense of community,” Matthew says. “There’s so much negativity out there. It’s good to highlight the good!”
Pictured: Islanders have been "hugely generous", Adrian said.
Adrian adds: “We would like to thank the people who have supported us so far. People have been hugely generous and very supportive."
With only a few days before the big day, Matthew and Adrian have slowed down on the running, apart from a Park Run on Saturday. “What you have to do now is eat, you need to carb load and not do very much running.
“The hardest part is when you get at 17, 18 miles, when bits of you start to hurt. Then there is the dreaded wall, which you don’t want to hit, if you hit you can’t walk, let alone run,” Adrian explains.
“It’s as much a mental challenge as a physical one. You get to the point where your body wants to stop but your mind says to go on, and you’re in turmoil.”
Luckily the pair will have the support of their whole family on the big day. Matthew’s young daughter, Poppy, will be watching him from the sidelines like he used to watch his dad. His wife, Victoria, his mum, Jackie, and his brother will also be there and they are all planning a big celebration after crossing the finish line.
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