A UTTOXETER runner is preparing to mark his 40th birthday in a unique way – by pulling on his trainers and completing the London Marathon.
Rick Hedgecombe decided to raise vital funds for St John Ambulance after experiencing first hand how the volunteers can save a life.
After a good friend suffered a heart attack at a football match several years ago, he received treatment from the volunteers which helped save his life.
It will be the sixth time Mr Hedgecombe has run the marathon on behalf of the charity and will be one of four throughout the year he will run to mark the milestone birthday.
The train driver with London Midland is also competing in the Brighton, Milton Keynes and the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon in Liverpool.
Mr Hedgecombe is also facing his own personal challenge to complete the races – he suffered a serious injury to his kneecap when he was in his 20s and was forced to retire from running after finishing his first marathon when he was 18.
After taking up running again in his 30s, he suffered further problems and was warned he would probably not be walking by the time he was 40.
The runner said: “I won’t be doing it in a spectacular time but when I went for physiotherapy a few years back and told I’d be lucky to be walking by my 40th birthday. I started running marathons to prove that theory wrong.
“I am looking forward to the run and supporting St John Ambulance as well as through the other marathons later in the year.”
Those wanting to support his fund-raising efforts are asked to visit www.justgiving.com/BigRicks4in14
He will be among nearly 200 runners fund-raising for St John Ambulance in this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon on April 13.
The route will be lined with the charity’s first aiders with more than 1,000 volunteers on duty and approximately one volunteer for every 35 metres of the course.