Marathon man keeps Hackney hospice running

Photo by: Anna Lee from St Joseph's Hospice

A 59-year-old business owner has run 20 consecutive London Marathons, raising more than £80,000 for a Hackney hospice.

Jim Martin started running the marathon at the age of 39 for St Joseph’s Hospice, Victoria, after his mother-in-law died there.

It took him a number of years to secure a ballot place, but describes himself as an “archetypal couch spectator” for the previous 10 years at the event.

St Joseph’s became a Golden Bond Holder, a charity with a guaranteed place in the race, following a successful fundraising at the London Marathon in 1995.

Mr Martin is set to run again this Sunday as part of the St Joseph’s Hospice team in the Royal Parks Half Marathon.

Despite the enormous amount he has raised for the hospice over the years, Mr Martin said: “I may stop running, but I’ll always fundraise”.  

He added that it is not for him to decide what his money goes towards within the hospice, but that they “always invite runners to take a tour of the hospice to explain what they’ve done”.

His best time so far is three hours 52 minutes – but he considers it “irrelevant”: “I’m not dictated by my watch. A lot of people, particularly in the London Marathon, are dominated by the time on their watch and they miss the whole event.”

The “electric crowd” is one of his favourite things about the London Marathon, but he considers it a “doddle” compared to the Snowdonia Marathon. “You go up a mountain… It’s in Wales in October and it’s inevitably raining and windy and a lot of it’s cross country so it’s a tough, tough marathon.”

His number one rule for other runners is to not be a casualty: “In the time I’ve been running three people have died – and they were all young. If you’re struggling, slow down.”

Photo by: Anna Lee