I did it! London Marathon 2016 completed (official time 3:12:29). Amazing experience. The atmosphere was incredible. At 14 miles I heard the loudest cheers from the supporters from my running club as well as Jo and my family who were wearing 'Go Paul' t-shirts that Jo had made as a surprise. Pushed for a good for age time of 3:05, felt strong and kept the pace great until 22 miles when quads and calves started pulling. Had to keep stopping to stretch to get me to the finish. Still pleased with an 11 minute PB over the (short) Manchester course last year. Just need to learn how to get stronger to avoid this next time. The charity were great; champagne and food at the finish! Thank you everyone that has supported me and my fundraising, with more still to come through work, together we'll have raised over £7600. Race stats for the geeks: https://www.strava.com/activities/556139337
Outside of my family, not a lot of people know that when I was 9, I suffered with severe muscle weakness, which affected my ability to carry out simple tasks such as opening doors as well as taking part in sports and other physical activities. This significantly affected my confidence and caused a lot of discomfort.
Thanks to the amazing support of my aunt Tricia and my parents Bev and Richard, I saw a specialist and was diagnosed with Juvenile Dermatomyositis, a rare condition where the immune system attacks blood vessels throughout the body, causing these symptoms.
I went on to receive excellent treatment at Hammersmith Hospital in London and eventually made a full recovery around the age of 16, with no lasting effects. During this, my parents also received some great support from Myositis UK.
The London Marathon is an amazing event I would love to be able to take part in and with my own personal experience with Dermatomyositis, Myositis UK means more to me than any other charity and I’d love the chance to raise a large amount of money for the charity as well spreading awareness of the charity and condition.
I also would love to be able to show others that are suffering with Dermatomyositis that there is hope of making a full recovery and leading a fit and active life.
I was very lucky; of the children diagnosed with and treated for Juvenile Dermatomyositis, only about half will recover completely. Close to 30 percent will be left with muscle weakness. Please help me raise money for the charity to further research and help support those suffering with the illness.