An avid runner is set to brave his second London Marathon for Ashgate Hospicecare next month – and he’s inviting fellow runners to join him virtually whilst supporting the North Derbyshire charity.
Matt Otty will have his close friend Sarah Bilinis on his mind when he battles through the famous 26.2-mile route across the capital, after the “exemplary” care she received from the hospice at the end of her life in 2019.
Matt, from Buxton, says he can’t wait to represent Ashgate at the marathon on Sunday 3rd October.
It’s the second time the 35-year-old will be taking on the Virgin London Marathon for the charity, after completing the race in 2019, despite injuring his leg with six miles still to go.
The experience had such an emotional impact on him that he even invested in a unique London Marathon-inspired tattoo shortly after.
Now, he’s inviting others to join him and be one of 50,000 virtual runners taking part in this year’s event, making it the world’s first 100,000-person marathon.
Matt said: “The London marathon is just an iconic race. It’s something I had wanted to do since I was a kid, so when I got the opportunity to represent Ashgate at the marathon in 2019, it was a dream come true. It makes me emotional thinking about it, it was the best day of my life.
“I wanted to support Ashgate because of the amazing care my friend Sarah had received from the community team; she was very ill at the time and sadly passed away two days after the marathon.
“Sarah might no longer be with us but she’s still always on my mind and I wanted to keep supporting Ashgate in her memory.
“The hospice did so much for her – it was the small things; they kept their promises and went above and beyond the level of care expected.
“That’s why I’ll be immensely proud to represent the hospice this year, and I hope others will join me by taking part in the virtual race.”
In 2019, Matt, who works with bereaved families, helped raise almost £4,000 for Ashgate, and he hopes to raise a significant amount this time around too.
Matt, a keen athlete for most of his life, has already organised a sell-out pub quiz with 80 guests in September and plans to take part in other fundraisers ahead of the marathon.
Ashgate Hospicecare has eight places available for the Virtual Virgin London Marathon, which allows participants from across the world to join in with the event wherever they might be.
The unique London Marathon app enables runners to log their 26.2 miles and earn a coveted medal and New Balance finisher T-shirt.
Carl Jones, Fundraising Manager at Ashgate Hospicecare, added: “Thank you so much to Matt for signing up to run the Virgin London Marathon for us once again this year.
“It’s thanks to super fundraisers like Matt that we’re able to continue caring for patients on our Inpatient Unit and out in the community.
“We have a small number of places available to take on the Virtual London Marathon this year. It’s a fantastic opportunity to be part of the one of the world’s biggest running events without physically being there!
“We can guarantee it’ll still be a fun and testing experience and ultimately you’ll be helping us care for the families who need us most.”
Participants of the Virtual London Marathon are asked to raise in excess of £295 in sponsorship for Ashgate Hospicecare.
To find out more about how you can get involved in this year’s race go to www.ashgatehospicecare.org.uk/events