When Clipstone man Wayne Swiffin took up running in January 2016, he had the goal of running just a mile or two without stopping to catch his breath.
But he now has his sights set much higher for he has been selected to take part in the Virgin Money London Marathon 2017.
He will be running on behalf of the Royal British Legion, which provides lifelong support for the Armed Forces community, serving men and women, veterans, and their families.
Wayne, who has since completed a number of 5km and 10km races and has taken part in a half marathon, entered the public ballot to run in the London Marathon 2017, but didn’t get through and so he submitted an application to the British Legion for a charity place.
He has carried out PR work on behalf of the British Legion in the past, helping to secure national and international press coverage when Britain’s last First World War veteran, Harry Patch, launched Somerset’s Poppy Appeal.
Wayne, who owns Mansfield-based Mandatum Public Relations, said: “It’s a daunting challenge and one that will test both physical and mental toughness, but you have to set yourself goals.
“Harry Patch was an inspiration, and when you think of the sacrifices given by men and women in the service of this country, running just over 26 miles in London is no comparison.
“I have no relatives that I know of who have been in the military. I am not a soldier. However, I appreciate the work of the men and women of our armed forces.
“I have talked with veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan, the Falklands, the Second World War and the First World War. I will, hopefully, not see what they have seen and I will not feel the pain they carry with them.
“If I can train to run just over 26 miles, and raise money for the Royal British Legion, then it’s not much really.”
Wayne has secured the first in what he hopes will be a number of corporate sponsors - JRB Accountancy, which is based at the Mansfield iCentre and provides tailored accounting solutions to a range of clients.
A dedicated website is being launched so people can keep up with Wayne’s training, and there is the @Legion_Runner Twitter account and The Legion Runner Facebook page.
A fundraising page has been set up at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/WayneSwiffin for individuals to sponsor Wayne.
Any companies who want to sponsor him should call him on 07854 689914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.