Wiltshire Publications

Charity runner conquers New York

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DILTON Marsh runner, Robin-Mark Schols, has completed the ‘world’s biggest marathon’ to continue his fundraising for Brain Tumour Support, which has now reached over £11,000.

He took part in the New York City marathon on Sunday 3rd November after winning his place in a draw that paid for his entry and accommodation. He also had the chance to meet Great Britain’s marathon running legend, Paula Radcliffe.

Robin-Mark was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2009 and took to running during his recovery. He has now completed 10 marathons, around 50 half marathons and hundreds of races, all to raise money and awareness for Brain Tumour Support.

Robin-Mark told the White Horse News, “After completing my fifth London marathon in April, I wondered if it was now time to drop back to concentrating on the half distance. I had a good run, but the marathon requires such a lot of training and focus, which I wasn’t sure I wanted to commit to again. Since recovering from a brain tumour in 2009 and taking up running, I’ve completed 10 marathons among the hundreds of races I’ve entered and had the privilege to represent GB in masters events in Spain and Italy too.

“Then I heard about a competition where I had a chance to run in the biggest marathon in the world – the New York City marathon. I entered myself into the draw and immediately put the idea of actually winning out of my head. About a month later I was amazed to receive an email informing me I was a lucky winner, and my prize was entry and hotel costs, so I just had to pay for my flight. I couldn’t believe it as I’ve never won anything like this before. It seemed my marathon retirement was on hold for now.

“The New York City marathon was an incredible experience, the energy and enthusiasm from participants and spectators alike was just unique. From the moment I arrived at the expo to collect my number, until leaving JFK airport a few days after the race, I was made to feel like a rock star. I was also thrilled to meet and chat with women’s marathon legend, Paula Radcliffe.

“On race day it was very exciting to arrive at Staten Island, the start of the journey through the five boroughs of New York. The NYPD were out in force and buzzing all around in helicopters too, really dramatic. I got a coffee (and complimentary Dunkin’Donuts hat) and found a spot to eat my breakfast and find my thoughts. I chatted with a nice lady from Wisconsin until it was time to go to our start corrals and we wished each other well. She was a veteran of some 70 marathons, an amazing lady who ran 3:31 on the day.

“We were set on our way by cannons and Frank Sinatra singing New York, New York (what else?) and we soon crossed the Verrazzano bridge into Brooklyn where we were greeted by an incredible crowd who were so excited to see us.

“The streets were absolutely packed with people giving encouragement, high fives, holding signs to make us smile, even offering beer! Queens was next, where we were once again greeted like it was a competition to see if they could outshout their neighbours. It was definitely a race of two halves for me with the Queensborough Bridge being a really memorable test before we arrived in Manhattan, before snaking through the Bronx and back into Manhattan, to finish in Central Park.

“Throughout the race the enthusiasm was contagious and I was happy to return high fives and smiles all over and soak up the atmosphere. It really energised me to have this relationship with the crowd and the Union Jack on my vest got me many a cry of Go GB, Go England, even God save the Queen comments which I applauded back to, much to their delight.

“Having this experience has completely changed my view on my future participation in the marathon too. I’m running London again next April and have entered the Berlin marathon ballot for next autumn. The experience has certainly rebooted my enthusiasm, with plans also in place for 2021. 

“I was so incredibly lucky to win the experience of a lifetime which I will never forget. It was all about me on Sunday, that’s how New Yorkers made me and the other 55,000 finishers feel. Do I love New York? You bet I do!”

If you would like to follow Robin-Marks story, you can follow his Facebook page by searching ‘Robin-Mark Runs’. To donate to Brain Tumour Support via his online fundraising page visit www. justgiving.com/ campaigns/ charity/braintumoursupport/robinmarkruns.