A HORSHAM man is planning to run 101 consecutive marathons after being inspired by a toddler suffering from a debilitating illness which could end his life before he reaches the age of 20.
James Lambert, 32, from The Pines in Horsham, has vowed to run the 101 marathons on a tread mill at the Cottesmore Golf and Country Club, to raise funds to send a two-year-old boy, Noah Elkington, and his family to Disneyland in Florida.
Just after his first birthday, Noah, from Crawley, was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, an aggressive muscle wasting disease which affects one in 3,600 boys and shortens life expectancy with many sufferers not reaching their 20s.
James decided he wanted to give Noah and his family a vacation to Disneyland after seeing the family, including mum Vicky, 32, and two sisters, Summer, six, and Keira, 13, battle to spend quality time together amongst the routine hospital appointments.
He said: “I wanted to help Noah and I thought this was a great thing to do. It sounds a bit cheesy but I feel like I have been training all my life to do this.
“Last year Noah’s dad, John, asked me for help to get into shape so that he could complete his first marathon this year so we developed a close friendship and in that time I learnt how it affects them as a family and I had the pleasure of meeting Noah and quite frankly it moved me.”
John, 30, said it has been a ‘struggle’ as the family have found it hard to find time to spend together but that James’ aim to send them on a holiday of a lifetime is ‘amazing’.
He said: “Once James has made his mind up that is that. He has been a great friend to me, even getting me into running. I thought I had to get fitter and look after myself, my son is going to need me and I have to be there for him.
“It is amazing he is doing this for us. Noah gets very tired, the condition affects his muscles and it could eventually affect his heart and lungs, towards the end of the disease, the muscles give up really.
“We found out he had it just after his first birthday because he was having trouble breathing. He had a muscle biopsy and the doctors came to the diagnosis that we got. It has been really upsetting for the entire family.”
James expects the marathons to take him up to six hours every day as he will have to take them at a steady pace to ensure he is able to keep going every day.
He said: “By far this is my biggest personal challenge but I want to do it because I feel so lucky to have my health and I thought why don’t I try to make a difference while I still can.”
The challenge will also beat the current British record of 100 marathons in 100 days. The sprint will begin on April 7 for 101 days.
If you want to sponsor James and help send the family to Florida visit: http://www.run-101.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/#!/groups/205776909522338/ or email firstname.lastname@example.org.