A Kilmarnock man is getting set to run the London Marathon – despite barely being able to run the length of himself two years ago.
Thomas Samson was laughed out of the pub by his mates in 2019 when he told them he was going to run the 10km Roon the Toon event.
And now he’s gearing up to run the gruelling 26-mile route through the UK’s capital on Sunday, October 3.
The Killie-daft 38-year-old is raising money for Crosshouse Children’s Fund, a charity he holds close to his heart after the looked after his premature son for 10 days.
And he’s happy to be proving his pals wrong.
Thomas told the Kilmarnock Standard: “I’m definitely off my head wanting to do it!
“I am doing well so far, the training is going well, I am looking forward to it.
(Image: Kilmarnock Standard)
“Why I am wanting to do it is a long story, basically I used to drink in the Howard Arms with Sandy Armour and all that group.
“One Sunday afternoon a couple of years ago when we were having a drink I said I am going to run Roon the Toon.
“They all laughed saying there’s no chance I could do it because at that point I could barely run the length of myself.
“That was in the January and Roon the Toon was the June, so I trained for it and joined the Kilmarnock Harriers.
“Against all odds I managed to finish the run, and then I just started enjoying it and went to the Harriers twice a week.
“I then decided ‘I am going to run the marathon to shut them all up’, they said there was no chance I could do 10k so I want to show them I can do a marathon.
(Image: Kilmarnock Standard)
“I applied for it through a ballot, but I didn’t get it, but the Harriers put a couple of spaces up and I got one of the places.
“Just from there I’ve been building up and training consistently, and it’s going well.”
He added: “I am raising the cash for Crosshouse Children’s Fund, the neonatal unit.
“My son was in there for 10 days, when I did Roon the Toon I raised a wee bit for them.
“But I thought I could try and do a bit better by doing the marathon.
“I’ve got over £1,000 for them so far, so it’s going well.
“My son was born premature, so I decided to try and raise money for the children’s charity at Crosshouse Hospital.
“I have been trying to do that in the background, Urquharts and Rainbow Ink are sponsoring me, it has grown arms and legs from nowhere.”
The London Marathon route is iconic – and runs from Blackheath in the south east of London to the finish line at The Mall.
Runners will make their way through Greenwich before passing over the Thames as they cross Tower Bridge.
The route continues through central London and passes Canary Wharf and famous landmarks such as the London Eye and Big Ben, where thousands of avid spectators will cheer on the runners.
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As the racegoers turn the bend at Buckingham Palace, all they’ll have left is the stretch of The Mall to reach the finish line.
Thomas admits the training is pretty brutal, but is helping him grow his confidence: “My training is generally a Tuesday night, Thursday night, then a big long run on a Saturday morning.
“I am getting used to it, I have been doing 18 and 20 mile runs, they’ve been tough but I now have the confidence that I can finish the marathon now.
“I am not going to win the gold medal but I just want to finish it, now I feel like I can.
“I won’t set myself a time, I just want to go there and do my best.”
He added: “It has been some transformation going from where I was to now.
“My pals are quite impressed now, they’ve taken their hats off to me as they know it’s some going.
“Out of all the folk there they probably thought I’d be one of the last to do it.”
To donate to Thomas’ JustGiving, visit here.
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