Marc’s toughest challenge in memory of a former colleague

Doncaster man Marc Jones prepared for the toughest physical test of his life, when he set out to keep a promise made to the parents of a former workmate.

The 45-year-old dad ran the equivalent of the London Marathon around the outskirts of Doncaster, after his entry in this year’s annual 26 mile road race was cancelled due to Coronavirus.

Marc said: “I’ve fundraised in memory of Emma Skardon who worked for me as a barmaid for some years when I ran Cask Corner and Baileys bars in Doncaster. She was a good friend and only in her mid-thirties when she died of cancer at St John’s Hospice, where she had been lovingly cared for.

“When Emma died about 18 months ago I told her parents at her funeral that I would do fundraising for her and then decided it would be by running my first marathon to raise money for St John’s. Sadly, this year’s event didn’t go ahead so a virtual equivalent was the answer. I’ve been training with a friend, Chris Clarke, who is going to run the distance with me and he will be raising money for the CALM mental health charity.”

Weighing in at 17.5 stones and 6’-2” tall, Marc admittd it was a tough mental and physical challenge as he only started distance running three years ago, completing some half-marathons since then. But he’s spurred on to keep up with 20 miles a time training sessions by a recurring image.

He said: “I live at Balby, on the same road as the hospice and pass it every day, which always makes me think of Emma and how she tragically lost her life at such a young age. The hospice does a wonderful job and my sponsorship will help its vital work.”

Marc, who works for Doncaster independent financial adviser My Pension Expert – which also has St John’s Hospice as its chosen charity – recently handed over a cheque for £1,000 in Emma’s memory, some £472 of which came from a collection at the Spar supermarket, Edlington, with the rest being topped up by Emma’s parents.

St John’s Hospice is run by Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust. Fundraiser Lindsey Richards said: “We are grateful to Emma’s family and well-wishers for their kind donation. We thank Marc for taking part in the marathon challenge and thank him for choosing to support the hospice, it is much appreciated and valued.”

Marc’s marathon fund-raising effort passed his initial £750 target, currently standing at over £1,991 thanks to the generosity of family and friends.

Marc ran his marathon in October, starting from St John’s Hospice following a predominantly off road route that took in the edge of Rossington, Edlington, the Trans-Pennine Trail through Sprotbrough, Woodlands, Highfields to eventually finish at Lakeside.

Mark is pictured handing over the initial £1000 donation.