An islander that hasn't run a long distance in four years has decided to tackle the London Marathon as a "way of giving back" to the dementia charity that supported his mother-in-law.
Luke Shobbrook will be taking to the streets of London on 3 October and is already halfway through his £2,000 fundraising target for Dementia Jersey.
While Luke has never run the marathon in London before, he has previously covered the 26.2-mile distance in Paris, Mont St. Michel and Reykjavík, as well as three times in Jersey.
“I think with marathon, it is just one way or the other, you either hate it and never do it again or you get bitten by it,” he said. “I very much got the bug and I have been running since.”
While he is a regular runner and participant in Park Runs, he has not run any long distances in the last four years.
Pictured: Luke is a regular participant at the Park Run.
“I was looking for a goal for myself in terms of my running, it’s about getting my mojo back,” he said of his decision to sign up for his seventh marathon.
After hearing that Dementia Jersey had obtained a charity place in the London Marathon, Luke didn’t hesitate to put his name forward, not only to experience the popular event, but also to support what he describes as a “very worthwhile cause”.
“My mother-in-law has dementia, so the family is personally affected,” he explained.
“She is somebody who has been very important over the years. I have seen that Dementia Jersey have been very helpful to her as an individual in terms of providing opportunities for inclusion and activities to get involved in such as musical memories and art class but also very supportive of the family.
“Staff were able to go through all the option with my father-in-law to work out arrangements for care and how to apply for those. They have been incredibly supportive to the family so it’s kind of way of giving back.”
Pictured: Dementia Jersey offers art classes among other things to islanders suffering from dementia.
So far, Luke has raised just over £1,100 of his £2,000 target, thanks to donations, cake sales hosted at his workplace and an outdoor yoga session at Milbrook Park directed by Stacey Baxter, Dementia Jersey’s Fundraising and Engagement Coordinator.
“We are doing pretty good,” he said. “Any more donation is gratefully received!”
Using the experience acquired during his previous marathons, Luke has been dutifully preparing ahead of the race. He has even found a group of fellow runners with whom he does long runs every Sunday.
“With marathon, it’s all about the training, if you do the training then you should be fine,” he said. “The people who suffer generally have not prepared properly or overestimated their capabilities.
“You have to be very careful, you are supposed to build your miles a bit. The last thing I want to happen is to get injured, I had to be careful and take things gradually.
“The tendency of runners is to push yourself to the limit, but I have to be wary of that. Running in a group helps with that, we encourage and each other and make sure we don’t push ourselves too much.”
Pictured: Luke is doing long runs with fellow runners every Sunday.
With only a few weeks to go before the big day, Luke is looking forward to experiencing the crowds at the marathon, whose support he has been told is “amazing”.
“Everyone talks about the London Marathon saying it’s a good one, it’s one of the most popular and one of the biggest races in the world,” he said. “There are 50,600 runners, it’s as if half of Jersey was running at the same time.
"These opportunities for people to come together and do things as a community are really important, it will be interesting to see if it has that extra sort of buzz because people are coming out to lockdown.”
“I feel pretty confident,” he added. “I have not done the longest run yet, which is 20 miles, but I have done 18 miles so far. I am pretty confident of my level of fitness. I just have to keep myself in one piece and avoid any nasty incident.
“I work as a Psychologist for the Alcohol and Drugs Services, I am having to practice what I preach and make sure that I am eating properly in preparation and that I am getting lots of sleep. We are terrible in the helping profession, we better at telling people what to do than doing it ourselves.
“It’s a personal challenge but it is also important to acknowledge there is a team of people around you supporting you in terms of family, friends and colleagues, it’s not something you can really do alone.”
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