A bank manager who only took up running last year has won a 100-mile race to raise awareness for his wife’s rare heart condition.
Phil Marshall, who turned 31 during the 18-and-a-half hour race, beat off competition from 50 other runners at the Grim Reaper UltraMarathon in Lincolnshire.
But Friday’s race was about raising awareness for sufferers like his wife, Sarah, 33, who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension after collapsing in September.
Phil, who lives with Sarah in Charlton, said: “Sarah’s illness has had a massive impact on our lives.
“So we wanted to make something positive out of the situation and organ donation is such an important cause.
“It is a chance for any of us to save the lives of eight people but it only happens if we have told our loved ones that we want to donate our organs when we die.”
For many sufferers like Sarah, the only option is a heart and lung transplant so Phil has raised awareness by running the Silverstone Half Marathon in March and the Milton Keynes Marathon in May.
But his latest feat is the first time he has run more than the marathon distance of 26.2 miles and he won the 100-mile race around Grimsthorpe Castle by more than 30 minutes.
Phil said his time checks after each 10 mile lap gave him the motivation to push for the victory.
He said: “When I started training for it in the winter, the 100 mile distance seemed a huge challenge so to just find myself challenging for the lead of the race was a shock.”
Sarah, who was a primary school teacher before the condition forced her to stop, said being diagnosed was a ‘huge shock’.
“It has taught me to be positive and appreciative of my life,” she said. “We’re just getting on with enjoying our lives and making the most of everything.
“Having a transplant has given people a second chance at life. Agreeing to donate is such a simple thing to do – it takes two minutes - but it is so important and it’s something everyone can do.”
Visit the couple’s website at www.igiveyoumyheart.org