“It would have meant the world to Dad that I’m running in his memory; I’ll carry him in my heart the whole way round.”

Later this month, Jack Harber will be joining a crew of #TeamIncredible runners set to conquer the Virgin Money London Marathon in support of our Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice. This is Jack’s story.

Jack Harber in his Sue Ryder running vest
"When training gets tough, I think of Dad and how I want to make him proud."
Jack Harber running

Since my dad passed away at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in March 2018, I knew I had to do something to raise money to show my immense gratitude to Sue Ryder.

I have a passion for running, and London is the greatest marathon in the world, so it made sense I enter the ballot to try and get myself a spot on the start line for the charity.

My chance to give something back

When I found out I had been selected to join Team Incredible, I felt incredibly happy and fortunate, as I knew this was my chance to make a real difference to the hospice that had made such a difference to me and my family.

It would have meant the world to Dad that I’m running in his memory for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court, particularly as he was extremely grateful for everything they did. It means everything to me, so I will carry him in my heart the whole way round.

Training in blocks

To prepare, I’ve been out training in all weathers. My first training block focused on strength, involving three gym sessions a week, one yoga session and six to eight running sessions. My next training block focused on speed, followed by endurance then a small taper before London itself.

When the going gets tough one of my running mantras is to say to myself: ‘You’re already in pain, get something for it’. In training, if I’m struggling or don’t want to get out and run, I tell myself that consistency brings long-term results.

I also think of my dad and try to make him proud. That’s quite a strong motivator.

My supporters

Luckily, I have a team of supporters behind me. My friends and family are really supportive (although a lot of them are saying “Rather you than me”!). My sister told me she thought it was pretty incredible what I was doing, which was really uplifting.

Sue Ryder have been great too. We have a WhatsApp group with all the other runners where we can share ideas, plans and motivation, and I’ve lots of support from Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court’s local fundraising team. They’ve provided me with a lot of support in terms of fundraising ideas, advice, and help to implement plans that myself and my fellow runners have.

This has made the experience a lot more rewarding, and has meant I am able to focus on raising as much money as I can.

Race day goals – and beyond

London 2019 will be my third marathon. I’ve also completed a 40-mile obstacle course, the Amsterdam Marathon in October 2017 and Southampton Marathon in April 2018, so I know what to expect on the day.

The marathon starts at 20 miles. If you can get there without too much damage, you should be able to finish strongly. I try to drink little and often, as it’s vital to not forget to keep taking on fluids the whole way through the race. My aim is to run around in 3 hours 15 minutes.

On race day, I will have my wonderful girlfriend Georgie, my brother and sister and hopefully my mum there cheering me on. I hope to raise £5,000 to help Gloucestershire’s only inpatient palliative care services keep on running.

I need to keep the legs moving after the finish, as I’ll be taking on the London to Brighton 100K Ultramarathon a month later, also in aid of Sue Ryder. A lot of people have said I’m mad taking this on so soon after the London Marathon! It’s also the furthest I’ve ever run.

“The care Dad received was second to none”

I’m doing it because I feel very fortunate that Dad received such great care; it certainly made things easier and more bearable for our family.

Leckhampton Court holds a very special place in my heart. Everything from the care my father received to the support me and the family received after Dad’s passing was second to none. I will always be extremely grateful to them.

Support Jack – or join Team Incredible next year

You can donate to Jack’s London Marathon cause via his JustGiving page.

If Jack’s story has left you feeling inspired to take on London Marathon 2020, why not register your interest to be part of Team Incredible now?

Author

Sue Ryder supporter Jack Harber

London Marathon runner

Jack Harber

Jack is running the London Marathon 2019 in memory of his late father, who was cared for at Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in Gloucestershire.