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Marathon enthusiast Grandad from Harvel, raises money for grandchildren's sports equipment at Valley Invicta Primary School


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A kind-hearted grandad with eight marathons under his belt decided to run another to raise funds for his grandchildren’s school.

Ian Carey, from St Francis Road in Harvel, ran on Sunday, 24 April, in a bid to raise money for sports equipment for Valley Invicta Primary in Leybourne Chase.

Ian Carey ran the length of a marathon to raise money for his grandchildren's school. Picture: Deke Martin
Ian Carey ran the length of a marathon to raise money for his grandchildren's school. Picture: Deke Martin

The idea for the fundraiser came to the 72-year-old as he powered through the last few miles of the London Marathon in October last year.

He said: “At the time, I was running for a charity and thought it would be a good idea to run another, but raising funds for a cause much closer to home - both literally and metaphorically.

“Both of my grandchildren are pupils at Leybourne Chase and we have been very impressed by the ethos of the school, particularly when it comes to healthy living.

“I thought it would be a nice idea to raise some money which could be put towards the purchase of sports and games equipment for the school, and to enhance the outside environment by introducing wildlife friendly areas, nest boxes, tree planting and so on.”

Ian has already run eight marathons in the space of 12 years - five of those were London Marathons, which he ran for Hearing Dogs for Deaf People and Visually Impaired Children Taking Action (VICTA), raising around £13,000 in total.

The marathon started at 9.30am and took around six hours to complete. Picture: Deke Martin
The marathon started at 9.30am and took around six hours to complete. Picture: Deke Martin

He also ran the Amsterdam Marathon in 2011, Budapest in 2012 and Edinburgh in 2016.

However, the retiree explained that he didn’t find his love of running until he was 56 years old.

Ian said: “It’s a bit of a daft thing - when I was younger, some lads from where I lived completed the first London Marathon.

“I thought to myself, ‘that sounds like good fun’, and it was one of those things I had never got round to doing.

“I have always been active, not so much running, but walking, gardening and playing badminton. I just can’t sit still for too long, I’m a bit of a fidget.

Ian has officially completed eight marathons in 12 years - including London, Edinburgh and Budapest. Picture: Ian Carey
Ian has officially completed eight marathons in 12 years - including London, Edinburgh and Budapest. Picture: Ian Carey

“When we moved to Harvel 18 years ago, there was a running club in the village, named the Harvel Hash House Harriers.

“I joined there and started running around some of the local roads.”

He added: “I didn’t start properly running until I was 56, and when I did, it nearly killed me!

“Three years later, in 2009, I did my first ever marathon. I was determined to get a marathon runner’s medal before I got my bus pass.”

The fundraising run started at 9.30am, and was the length of a full marathon – 26.2 miles – with participants completing two circuits around Leybourne Chase, Leybourne Lakes, Birling, Ryarsh and Addington.

The group of runners had a cheer point at the Duke of Wellington pub in Ryarsh. Picture: Deke Martin
The group of runners had a cheer point at the Duke of Wellington pub in Ryarsh. Picture: Deke Martin

“We took it very easy, I think it came to about six hours,” Ian explained. “It was a very slow plod the first hour or so.”

There was also a cheer point at the Duke of Wellington pub in Ryarsh.

Around 20 people ran alongside Ian in support - including members of Ian’s running club, as well as Leybourne Chase teacher Mitch Holt and headteacher Nicola Craig.

So far he has raised £834 of his £1,000 target.

You can donate to Ian's JustGiving page here.

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