THE finishing line of the White Peak Marathon in Derbyshire marked an achievement for Sheffield medic John Snowden…
He completed the gruelling race in a time of 3hr 53min – but Saturday’s race was the third in a hat-trick of marathons he has run in five weeks.
John, aged 46, a consultant haematologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, embarked on the triple challenge to raise money for the cancer and bone marrow transplant services he works in.
He undertook the feat in memory of former colleague Janet Woolley, departmental secretary for 20 years, who lost her battle with cancer last year.
The first stage got under way on the Champs Elysées on April 15, when John lined up for the Marathon de Paris.
Cheered on by wife Angela and sons Josh and Jake, he completed the course in 3hr 52min – despite losing a toe nail.
His next target was the Greater Manchester Marathon two weeks later. Battling cold, wet and windy weather, he finished in 3hr 55min – minus another toe nail.
Saturday’s White Peak run was the final leg of John’s campaign, bringing his total mileage to 78.6 and his fundraising total to more than £2,200.
“I’m reasonably fit but not athletic and I knew I could get through one marathon, but I wasn’t so sure about three in a row!” he said.
“The biggest worry was getting injured with little recovery time. My only serious injury during training was a dog bite in Whiteley Woods!”
He added: “The third marathon in the White Peak was tough for me, both physically and mentally, because I hadn’t had time to recover from the first two. In fact, perhaps due to dehydration and repeated pounding of the feet, I had an episode of gout in my big toe the week before, and I seriously wondered whether I would even be able to walk it.
“However, several days of anti-inflammatories helped it settle, and by the end of last week I was ‘carbo-loading’ once again for the final marathon.
“I don’t know very much about sports nutrition or sports psychology, but what kept me going to the end was the tremendous support and donations for two worthy local charities for cancer and leukaemia, and the memory of a lovely friend and colleague”.
John ran his first marathon in 2008 and completed two in four weeks during 2010 – which gave him the idea of setting the bar even higher this year.
“I’m not sure about my next challenge, but I’d need my toenails to grow back first!”
John undertook the feat as part of Weston Park Hospital’s Run & Raise initiative and part of the money will also go to Sheffield Hospitals Charity Leukaemia and Blood Disorders Appeal.