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MGA News

Summer 2004

The Unlikely Marathon Runner

Ian Cooper

As pools of sweat formed on gym floor, I was encouraged to resume my running career from which I had retired 43 years previously. Gentle progress made from running 10k races to various Half Marathons. However, the ultimate challenge lay ahead. Late one night I was dared by various couch-potato colleagues and friends to enter the London Marathon. After careful consideration and another bottle of wine my resolve weakened and I agreed to apply for a Marathon place provided the same colleagues and friends helped with sponsorship.

I had no difficulty in choosing a Charity as I was diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis in 1972. I had a Thymectomy in 1977 and thanks to the care of Professor Newsom-Davies and his colleagues, my heath gradually recovered. Although I had a slight relapse in 1984. Again, with the help of the MG team in Oxford, I have been symptom free for 19 years. I am acutely aware that I am fortunate to be one of a minority who appear to have made a complete recovery from MG.

The Day of the Marathon

Ian CooperOne of the best days of my life. The weather was atrocious but I hardly noticed. I knew that my 15 months training programme of running up to 35 to 40 miles per week had prepared me for the physical endurance but what I had underestimated was the excitement and the comradeship of fellow runners each of whom had their own special story to tell:

The crowds were fantastic. On my MG shirt I also had my name. For the last few weary miles along the Embankment the crowd seemed to be especially supporting me as they shouted my name in encouragement. Being 4.5 stone lighter than I was 15 months earlier helped me to a finishing time of 4 hours 22 mins. which seems fair for a first time 61 year old marathon runner.

With the help of my friends from Chateau Bauduc near Bordeaux I was able to run a number of sponsorship campaigns, each of which offered a case of wine to the sponsor who most accurately forecast my finishing time. This, of course, encouraged sponsors to send funds before the day of the Marathon.

As a result I have been able to send almost £15,000 to the MGA as well as over £1,000 to the Children's Chronic Arthritic Society, a charity supported by colleagues at work. I promised my wife that the London Marathon was a one off event but having been married to me for 36 years she knows that I occasionally tell lies.

Perhaps she would be interested in a shopping trip to New York provided it coincided with the NY Marathon?

MGA NEWS Summer 2004
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