Popular Peterborough fundraiser running London Marathon in memory of friend who lost cancer battle
Well known Peterborough fundraiser Del Singh says he will be running in memory of a friend when he takes on the London Marathon this weekend.
Del, 59, of Eastfield Road, will run the London Marathon for the charity Cancer Research UK on Sunday (October 3) – 18 months after the iconic run through the streets of the capital was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He ran the last London Marathon to take place before the pandemic in April 2019 and is taking on the 26.2-mile official course alongside 50,000 other runners, with a further 50,000 people around the world attempting their own virtual courses of the same distance.
“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “Anyone who gets the opportunity to run the London Marathon is really lucky because it’s a wonderful experience.
“The streets are closed off and you feel like you own London for the day – you become part of the fabric of the city. People come out in their thousands to cheer, shouting your name as you’re running.
“I often get: ‘Go on, Del Boy!’ – and that sort of thing really lifts you.”
In 2017, Del’s close friend Darren was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Del took up running and raised money to support Darren as he underwent chemotherapy by running the Great Eastern Run half marathon in Peterborough before his first London Marathon two years ago.
He said: “I threw in an application for the London Marathon and didn’t for a minute think I’d get a place because over half a million people apply every year – and I know people who have applied for the last ten years and haven’t got a place.”
“The Marathon was bittersweet for me because I knew Darren was then at Thorpe Hall Sue Ryder Hospice. I remember once I finished the race I returned to Peterborough the following day on the train and walked straight from the station to the hospice to see him.
“I showed him the medal and put it round his neck. Sadly a few days later he passed away, but I’ll always remember how 24 miles into the Marathon I was really struggling but thinking of him kept me going.”
As part of his training Del has been running with his wife Jas: “In order to get some air, my wife Jas and I started taking early evening walks, so I suggested she could try Couch to 5K using the BBC app. Reluctant to run outdoors she started at home on the treadmill, and for moral support I did Couch to 5K with her. On week 7 of our programme I suggested to Jas that we move outside to Ferry Meadows. As she seemed to be enjoying her outdoor run that day I simply let her continue until, unbeknownst to her, she had run the full 5km. Kicking on from her 5km runs in August this year some 10 months after starting her running journey Jas ran the Cancer Research UK 10k Summer Run in London with me. She dug deep and we were given huge cheers from the crowd.”
Jas said: It’s not something I imagined I would do ever, let alone in my 50s. But if I can do this then anyone can, and I would love to see more women from BAME communities running as it isn’t just a good way to get physically fitter but has also helped with my mental health too.”
Del, is also one of the organising committee for CRUK Relay for Life in Peterborough and is raising money for Cancer Research UK. The Relay for Life is taking place at Ferry Meadows on Sunday, October 10.
Del and his Relay For Life team – Del’s Midnite Runners – are fundraising for Cancer Research UK.
He said: “The money we’ve raised so far is a drop in the ocean but there is a £44 million gap in cancer research funding because of the Covid-19 pandemic. That is going to affect a lot of people and treatments going forward which should have been delivered and won’t be delivered for a while.
“That’s why it’s important for people to donate. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer, so the quicker we can find treatments for it and stop it the better.”
To donate to Del’s London Marathon run visit: http://relay.cancerresearchuk.org/goto/del_singhs_midnite_runners