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A teacher from Nescot ran the London Marathon yesterday (Sunday), aiming to raise thousands of pounds for a charity for young people.

Neil McDonnell, who is Head of Electrical and Motor Vehicle, is almost half-way to his target for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

“I’d really been looking forward to the event, but it was so much better than I’d imagined,” Neil said.

“Even just getting off the train and walking to the start line, strangers are wishing you good luck and telling you that you can do it. While you’re running the cheering is unbelievable - it really spurs you on.”

Neil had hoped to finish in less than four hours, but at mile 22 he hit ‘the wall’, which happens when levels of glucose in the bloodstream drop and the stores of carbohydrates are almost depleted.

He said he took energy from the tens of thousands of spectators, including his partner Sam and 21-year-old son Zach.

“The atmosphere was just unbelievable, I’ve never experienced anything like it,” he said. “People have their name on their vest, so if you look like you’re struggling people cheer your name.

“For me, the best part is how inclusive it is. Although it’s technically a race not many people are bothered about their time, and all the runners are looking out for each other.”

Neil applied to take part in the marathon three times previously before winning a charity place this year.

He has previously attended the marathon as a spectator, choosing to travel to central London several hours after the start time in order to cheer on the people with the slowest times.

“The way I see it, you support the people who need the support the most,” Neil said. “Lots of people have never run that distance before, so it’s nice to give them a bit of a lift if you can.”

Neil has already applied to race again next year, but he is also looking ahead to his next marathon, which is in Amsterdam at the end of the month, as well as Paris and Barcelona in the spring.

He started distance running this year, after setting himself a list of things he wanted to do before he turned 50.

He aimed to take part in one marathon, but after running the Brighton Marathon in April in a time of 4:25 he said he ‘got the bug’.

Marathons in Rome and Vienna followed, as well as one in Stockholm the day before his 50th birthday. He has also done half-marathons in Shere and Reigate, as well as ‘trail’ marathons on uneven ground.

You can sponsor Neil by clicking here.

You can read more about Nescot's Electrical courses on our website here, and more about Motor Vehicle here.