Banbury man Mav becomes London Marathon's unexpected hero - he came last and is raising thousands
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Tom Durnin – aka Mav – had never run more than 7k before Sunday and did little preparation for the event. He had pledges of £600 and promised the London Marathon he would raise more after the event.But after 35-year-old Mav dragged himself over the line as the final finisher, his picture on the London Marathon Facebook page went viral. And the donations began to flood in.
By today (Tuesday) his Go Fund Me page has reached an astonishing £9,361 for Freddie’s Future and the Bone Cancer Research Trust (BCRT). The money has arrived in US dollars, Australian dollars, Euros and pounds - and he has won plaudits from well-wishers all over the world.
“My thing is motorsports – running isn’t my thing,” said Mav, a transport manager for Smiths of Bloxham, who described himself as ‘wiped out’ today (Monday).
“I've done a little bit on the treadmill but I’m no athlete. I was inspired a few years back when my sister did the London Marathon and then a charity place came up for Freddie's Future.”
Freddie Croft is the Bodicote boy who has Ewing Sarcoma, a particularly rare and aggressive bone cancer. An appeal went out in January for runners for the marathon to help his fundraising effort for the BCRT.
Mav’s run was incredible considering he spent a week in hospital that before Christmas with a bleed on the brain and a broken arm following an accident.
"I’d come out of hospital and spent quite a few weeks recovering. Then two weeks ago, I spoke to the lady from the BCRT and because there was a deadline we wondered whether to put it off until next year, as I wouldn’t have enough time to raise funds. But we thought we’d carry on fundraising after the event. I thought I was going to be baking cakes for months."
Mav completed the run in 8hr 10min 58sec, helped along the route by children lining the streets who fed him sweets, adult spectators and other runners who shared their refreshments.
By mile ten Mav was making good time but an old injury became a problem and from there, is was pain all the way to the finish. Ankles, knees and both groins became agonising. ”I was just digging as deep as I could so I could get to the end. It was 16 miles in pain,” he said. “At mile 19 my partner Leanne and daughter Teighan were there. I got to mile 21 and I thought I just wasn’t going to be able to do it.”
One of the marathon organisers accompanied him the final three miles. She called ahead to ensure the finish line was kept open.
"After the finish it went everywhere – Twitter, Lad Bible, YouTube, Facebook – every platform. I've had people messaging me from everywhere. Someone posted my Just Giving page under the London Marathon post and the money has just kept coming in.
After finishing the event, Mav and his family had to walk down Charing Cross Road and get a taxi to Marylebone to catch a train back to Banbury, where his Mum, Fiona Beckford, was waiting.
To see the Lad Bible coverage see here.