62-year-old runs first marathon to raise 20K for charity that cared for his mother

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Caterham local Chris McVitty has completed the London marathon raising an astonishing £20,000 for the UK’s leading end of life charity Marie Curie who cared for his mum Peggy.

Although he was an avid walker averaging 15,000 steps a day, Chris has never been a runner, but spurred on by colleagues who had previously done the marathon he decided to give it a go. He first tested out in his work shoes and jeans how long it would take to walk a marathon.

“I fast walked a quarter marathon and worked out at that pace a full marathon would take me six hours 34 mins. I reported back to my work friends, and they suggested I put on gym kit and then made a really radical suggestion that I run even just a bit of it.”

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Chris failed to get a place in the ballot and remembers feeling oddly relieved. When he was then selected as a runner for Marie Curie in the 2024 marathon, Chris was taken aback, but thinking about how the charity cared for his mum, decided it was a good way to thank the charity.

Chris McVitty raised an astonishing £20,000 for the UK's leading end of life Marie CurieChris McVitty raised an astonishing £20,000 for the UK's leading end of life Marie Curie
Chris McVitty raised an astonishing £20,000 for the UK's leading end of life Marie Curie

“When mum died in 2000, I was the youngest of three sons in my late 30’s angry with grief at the premature loss of my dear mum and I never really said thank you properly to Marie Curie and the brilliant staff there.

“I dug a mental hole and just buried my grief without totally processing it. After 24 years, through the marathon, Marie Curie also helped me dig up the grief, deal with it and honour my mum.

“Marie Curie allowed my mum to die with dignity and their skill was amazing even if I was too angry to fully appreciate it at the time.”

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Chris was confident he could raise funds but was overwhelmed with the support and generosity of his network which, including gift aid, has helped him raise over £20,000 for Marie Curie.

Chris ran the London marathon at 62 years old to raise money for Marie CurieChris ran the London marathon at 62 years old to raise money for Marie Curie
Chris ran the London marathon at 62 years old to raise money for Marie Curie

“The experience is amazing, running around the city I love and have worked in for 41 years is incredible and seeing so many people come out in support is mind blowing.

“My mother was a "can do" type of lady, and I am a chip off her block. We thought we could take the world on, so although I’m not a natural runner she wouldn’t have been surprised that I took on the challenge and she would have been delighted with the money raised and honouring her memory.”

Chris isn’t done with fundraising yet though as he looks to take on the upcoming Parks Half Marathon in October also in aide of Marie Curie.

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“To my own surprise I found myself suggesting to my colleagues who got me into the London Marathon that we run the Parks Half as a group despite swearing I would never run another road race again.”

Community Fundraiser for Surrey, Sophy Alexander says Chris’ fundraising efforts make such a difference to the charity and those they support.

“Efforts from our fundraisers like Chris never go unnoticed and these much-needed funds help our nurses and healthcare professionals to provide expert support and hospice care, as well as funding our free support line and webchat, which is available to anyone with an illness they’re likely to die from and those close to them.”

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