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Super Hero Mark Godden runs Virtual London Marathon raising over £1400 for Ski 2 Freedom!

After the 2020 London Marathon was postponed, and later redesigned, Ski 2 Freedom supporter and fundraiser, Mark Godden, was unable to take on the original challenge he had signed up for due to Covid-19. But all was not lost! The organisers at the Virgin Money London Marathon decided that race entrants could run the 26.2 mile race virtually instead!

So...last month, Mark ran around Lake Annecy, France with its beautiful mountain backdrop to complete his London Marathon virtually, although as Mark says: "There is nothing virtual about running 26.2 miles!"

map showing Mark's running route around Lake Annecy - marking out the start, finish & climb section

We caught up with Mark after the race to speak to him about how he got on and why he chose to support our wonderful foundation:

"I originally did my first Marathon back in 1998. I am always looking to challenge myself so I decided to put in for the Marathon again and to my surprise got a ballot place. Once I got my ballot place, I needed to choose which charity I wanted to run for. As a ski instructor, I have worked with many people on the slopes and have got so much out of skiing and so have my clients, I wanted to help others less fortunate. I searched for skiing related charities and found Ski 2 Freedom and fell in love with the concept of what they offer."

three images of Ski 2 Freedom beneficiaries enjoying their sit ski experiences with big smiles on their faces

"The marathon was tough for me this time, with no support from the crowds. I was not prepared for that and the effect it would have on me. I did have my wife for support on a bike for nutrition and fluids, also some friends came along and ran some sections with me. The big climb was not to bad as I have got used to running uphill. The hardest part was when I got bad cramp at 22 miles, this lasted about 2 miles, they were a vey long 2 miles. I had great support from the people with me. This kept me going to the end and I felt very happy and relieved although in my thoughts, to finish was the only possible outcome."

pictures of Mark during his run with long reaching views of Lake Annecy in the background

Mark even managed to get featured on the BBC coverage of the event:

picture of Mark as seen on BBC coverage, jogging make a peace sign and smiling

"What do I love about the mountains? If I was a good writer, I would write a book about it, the problem would be there would never be an ending as my enjoyment of them is boundless. The mountains were here long before we arrived and will still be here long after we have gone, even if bits are falling off them. When I go up, I feel excited and alive, the fresh air and changing beauty are are a joy to see. They create so much positivity. When I post pictures of scenes and views on Facebook, comments are always positive. The mountains create challenges with weather and height but actually ask nothing of us. We create the challenges ourselves and get so much from them, the draw is massive."

picture of Mark smiling at the end of his marathon & picture of the London Marathon medal

"For sure skiing is my favourite sport. But throw in cycling, rock climbing, hiking, the list is endless, all carried out in the most beautiful setting. There is something for everyone. I love the mountains and always feel sad to leave, but even happier to return."

"I would recommend for anybody with any disability to come and enjoy the mountains. They are great listeners and will take all the troubles you can throw at them. To go out with someone who has mountain experience is a bonus, because with their experience, they can guide you to unimaginable places of excitement and beauty. Often when I ask people what where they were thinking about whilst on the mountain, many cannot recollect their thoughts, such is the power of being in the mountains. The sense of excitement and achievement that can be obtained is Incredible. The minimal effect will be enjoyment and pleasure, or they can even create life changing feelings, all of which has got to be good for your health and well being."

Mark will continue to support the Ski 2 Freedom Foundation in the 2022 London Marathon. He is also looking to get his skiing qualifications accepted in France so will hopefully be able to take on an active role in getting people affected by disabilities down the mountain so as he says "come and join us, you will have the time of your life. The future is positive, the future is the mountains."

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