This April, our very own Paul Willgoss – CHF Trustee for almost a decade – will be running yet another marathon to raise money to support children with heart conditions. Paul was born with a complex form of Tetralogy of Fallot. Despite his heart condition, he has already run five marathons, two ultra marathons, and countless other gruelling challenges as part of his joint passion for running and for CHF. Now Paul is about to attempt what he considers to be the pinnacle of his running career: the London Marathon.
‘London is the marathon everything else is compared to. For me, it’s the pinnacle of 6 years of effort and running. I won’t be fast but I will try and I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait’.
The event will be made even sweeter by Paul’s 6-year long attempt to be allocated a place on the London Marathon, and the event coincides with the 40 year anniversary of his first heart surgery.
Paul was recently selected as one of 40 out of the 37,500 runners to take part in a Virgin Money Marathon Training Day. At the event, held at Dorney Lake, Eton, Paul was given privileged access to expert tips and advice to help make this marathon his best yet.
“The running advice was excellent and pitched at exactly the right level, with a lot of humour as well as wisdom. The event was attended by some guys from Walking with the Wounded charity who were great. They would inspire almost anyone.”
In light of difficulties he faced as a child with a heart condition, Paul’s dedication to long-distance running goes beyond his desire to raise funds to support the charity’s work. Paul also wants to inspire young people with heart conditions that they can still lead active lives.
‘When I was a child I was excluded from all sporting activities at my school. The school was terrified I would endanger myself.
‘Not only did this isolate me socially, and exacerbate feelings that I, like many heart children, had of being “different”, it was also a missed opportunity to be involved in an activity that I now absolutely love.’
‘If my running helps one kid with a heart condition to be allowed to enjoy sport at any level then the weeks and hundreds of miles of training have been worthwhile.’
If you would like to support Paul’s participation in the London Marathon, you can donate here http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/apoundayear He also writes a blog about his endeavours: http://walkingforheartkids.blogspot.co.uk.