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Blues coach Jack Dowling set to complete 26 marathons in 26 weeks challenge at London Marathon

1 month ago

Blues coach Jack Dowling set to complete 26 marathons in 26 weeks challenge at London Marathon

Blues performance coach Jack Dowling is preparing to complete his 26 marathons in 26 weeks challenge at this weekend’s London Marathon.

Jack, from Crosby, will take on the London Marathon this weekend after setting himself the tough goal to raise awareness and funds for Macmillan Cancer Care after his older brother Tom was diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Sadly, Tom died in March when Jack was still a few marathons short of his target.

But he was determined to keep going and cross the final finish line in London, for his brother and others being supported through a cancer diagnosis.

Now, after struggling with a knee injury, 31-year-old Jack says he’s looking forward to marathon number 26, after raising more than £58,000 for the charity.

“I had two weeks’ resting and rehab and then I had to do a couple of extra ones towards the end to stay on track,” he says.

“I did three in seven days two weeks ago, on a Sunday, Wednesday, Sunday, so I’ve caught up now, I’m feeling good and ready to go for London. 

“I thought if I got through that week, I’d only have a couple left and the London Marathon will seem like a fun run for me!”

Jack (right) with his brother Tom

Jack had initially hoped that Tom would be able to join other family and friends cheering him on along the London route. 

“He passed away on the Thursday and my parents said to me the next day, Jack you’ve got to make sure you finish this.

“I really wanted to do it for Tom, because he loved it, but on that Sunday I did have a bit of a wobble. Then I realised it’s not just for Tom, I’m doing it for everyone else who’s supported by Macmillan and what they do, so if I can help one other person with whatever support they need then that’s enough for me to make sure I finish.

“A big gang of us are going down at the weekend, a couple of other runners from the run club are running the London Marathon as well, so it’s going to be a great day with a lot of friends and family there.

“I think it’s going to be quite emotional, crossing the line with Tom not being there to see it, but I am really looking forward to it.

Jack says he’s decided not to push for a personal best on Sunday, so he can focus on making the day even more special.

Jack Dowling

“This is really not about the time, a lot of people are coming down to support me so I want to make sure I stop and see them and get a picture rather than just sprinting past or saying hi and waving,” he explains.

Once his 26th marathon is over, Jack plans to celebrate with a pint of Guinness then take a break from running. “But I know I’m one of those people who’ll get itchy feet so I’m sure there’ll be something else,” he admits.

He says he’s grateful for all the backing he’s had over the past six months, including from Everton and Liverpool football clubs and the owners of The Bridewell and Thomas Rigby pubs where he worked behind the bar as a student.

“The support I’ve had has been amazing, that’s what keeps me going so I can’t thank everyone enough.”

To donate to Jack’s Just Giving page, go to the website HERE.

Read about another local taking on the London Marathon for a great cause this weekend HERE.

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