Hampshire fundraiser Jim Whitmarsh tackles 100th marathon in nephew's memory

Jim Whitmarsh

Jim Whitmarsh

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Senior Reporter

A HAMPSHIRE fundraiser is hoping to complete his 100th marathon this weekend.

Jim Whitmarsh was inspired to start pounding the streets when his nephew died from cot death at ten months old.

So the contract gardener decided to run a marathon back in 1999 to raise money for charity in honour of the youngster, Michael Rafferty.

Now, 13 years later, the 53-year-old running fanatic from Hedge End will be pounding the streets once again – taking part in his 100th marathon in aid of the little boy who started his marathon journey.

By the time Jim steps over the starting line at the Portsmouth Coastal Marathon tomorrow he will have raised £25,000 for various charities.

It will be the final momentous event of this year for Eastleigh Running Club member Jim, after he was a torchbearer in Southampton before the Olympics.

Shock He told the Daily Echo: “It’s going to be a big day. The only thing that can stop me is the weather.”

Talking about how he took up the sport, Jim said: “It was a huge shock when Michael died as he had not been a weak or sickly baby and was a very active boy.

“I decided I would train and run my first marathon to raise funds for the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths to give something back for the pain and loss our whole family felt.

“I’ve decided to once again raise funds in memory of this very special little boy for whom I began this marathon journey. “I wouldn’t have made all the friends that I have made, taken part in all the marathons or become a torchbearer if it wasn’t for him.”

In the past three years Jim has run 49 of his 100 marathons but there is no chance of him throwing in the towel.

He said: “This is my hobby. So long as I can keep on doing it, and I’m able to do it, I will.”

To donate to the cause log on to justgiving.com/angelina-whitmarsh.

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