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Durham University student to take on London Marathon alongside dad in honour of grandparents who survived cancer

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A Durham University student is set to run the London Marathon alongside his dad in aid of a leading cancer charity after three of his grandparents survived the disease.

Jonah Marsh and his dad Phil is taking on the 26 mile route next month in aid of The Institute of Cancer Research.

Lawyer Phil is a keen runner himself, and the 50-year-old actually ran the marathon himself back in 1999.

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19-year-old Anthropology student Jonah will be cheered on by his grandparents themselves, who will cheer the ‘Marsh boys’ on as they traverse the course – making it a real family affair.

Jonah started running over lockdown, keen to make the most of his one hour of exercise per day. By the time his dad suggested they apply for the marathon, Jonah was well into the sport and simply thought – “why not.”

Jonah and Phil Marsh

Jonah said: “My dad’s a really experienced runner, but I was never even remotely interested in it. I only started during lockdown last year, as I wanted to make the most of the one hour a day we were allowed outside, and then I got really into it.

“When dad suggested we try for the London marathon together, I thought why not, and now here we are. I wanted to run for the ICR as three of my grandparents have had cancer, and they’ve all come out of the other side.

“We’re lucky not to have lost anyone, and I know that’s down to the treatments they were able to have. Cancer research has given us so many extra years together as a family, and I want to help give other families the same opportunity.”

The pair have set a joint fund-raising target of £4,000. Phil explained why he has chosen to raise money for the Institute of Cancer Research.

He said: “It’s been a lot of fun training with Jonah, and we generally keep pace together pretty well. I’m a more experienced runner than my son, but he’s faster, so my job is to try and pace him and make sure he doesn’t blow himself up.

“Running for a cause is really important to me. My dad was diagnosed with bladder cancer in his 50s, and I think it’s really important to raise awareness of cancer and the importance of going for check-ups so you can catch it early.

“A couple of my friends have also been diagnosed with cancer, and one of my friends sadly passed away when he was in his 30s. I’m not expecting a magic wand cure, but I think any money we can raise will help.

“Even if it gives families just a few extra years together, that’s still a few extra years to make memories. Thanks to the progress that’s been made in cancer research, I still have my dad in my life, and I’m so pleased he’ll be there at the marathon to cheer us both on.”

Jonah and Phil Marsh with their family.

Jonah and Phil Marsh with their family.

The Institute of Cancer Research, based in London, is one of the world’s most influential cancer research institutes, and dates back more than 100 years.

It has charitable statues and relies on support from partner organisations, charities, donors, and the general public.

Robin Plowman, Supporter Events Manager at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “We’re so proud of Phil, Jonah, and all the other team ICR runners.

“The coronavirus pandemic has been a challenge for us all, especially for cancer patients. That’s why we’re so excited to run or walk together again, to raise funds for our cancer research.

“We wish the Marsh boys, and all our runners, the best of luck as they continue with their training, and we’re looking forward to cheering everybody on when the big day arrives.”

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https://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/news/north-east-news/durham-university-student-take-london-21508128