Later this month, 35-year-old Peter de Klein will be joining a crew of #TeamIncredible runners pulling on their blue Sue Ryder running vests to take on one of the world’s most iconic challenges: The Virgin Money London Marathon. He explains why he’s running for Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in memory of his friend and colleague.
I worked with an awesome gent called Dan. He was my age, had similar interests and was just a really generous person. We became friends and managed to run a few parkruns together, and I persuaded him to join me for rugby training on a couple of occasions.
But, just months before his son’s first birthday, cancer had taken him.
Dan was hoping to get better. He’d even put his name in the ballot for London too. He’d got a promotion at work and been working hard to improve his fitness. He wanted to be a healthy role model for his son and to make a difference to the people around him. That’s why I’m doing this for him.
Seventh time lucky in the ballot
In 2013, I was in London visiting friends and was staggered by the huge number of people supporting the Marathon as well as taking part. It was incredible watching so many people running or walking, all with their own stories for doing it.
That year, my wife and I put our names down for the ballot and somehow she got in. I didn’t, but neither of us had run a marathon before and the training she did was so tough. She completed it in 2014 running (and walking) and finished with more blisters and aches than I’d have thought possible.
I’ve put my name in the ballot every year since, but until now always had the good luck to avoid getting in!
Although this will be my first ever London Marathon, it will be my sixth time covering the distance. London has been something I’ve watched on the TV – ever since I was walking, probably – and to be a part of it was unimaginable only a few years ago.
This year is all about London for me. The target is four hours or under, but we shall see. The marathon is a tricky beast.
What it’s like being part of Team Incredible
Being part of Team Incredible, and hearing some of the stories of the runners, has been great. We’re all at different levels of fitness and experience but we’re all putting our efforts into the same goal.
The group of fellow runners I am in touch with have been the biggest benefit: it helps to feel part of a team when I’m out on a long run on my own.
My family and friends are giving me lots of moral support too. They are all for it. A lot of them knew Dan.
On race day, my wife will be there with my son (who will be two by then) and we’re dragging my parents-in-law along to find a quieter spot to cheer from too. And then there are the supporters from Sue Ryder who are going to be cheering on people like me running the equivalent of Gloucester to Swindon!
Doing it for Dan
My friend Dan was always willing to help me out, be it with work or a book recommendation. We could have been running this thing together but fate decided otherwise.
Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice made Dan’s last days and weeks easier. They even let him have a cider or two. The people there work so hard to make things easier and to embrace the positives in each day.
I know Dan would have celebrated with a pint of cider at the finish, so I’m going to toast his memory with an Old Rosie when I’ve crossed the line.
I hope the funds I raise will help more people receive the same comfort and dignity Dan did in such a stunning place.
Support Peter – or join Team Incredible next year
You can donate to Peter’s London Marathon cause via his Virgin Money Giving page.
If Peter’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?
London Marathon runner
Peter is running the London Marathon 2019 in memory of his friend Dan, who was cared for at our Sue Ryder Leckhampton Court Hospice in Gloucestershire.