Mark's marathon to raise money for Sidmouth Lifeboat
PUBLISHED: 06:55 02 May 2019 | UPDATED: 17:14 08 May 2019
His father helped to start the independent lifeboat.
A runner will be taking on his first marathon to raise money for the lifesaving service his dad played a driving force in setting up.
Mark Phillips will pull on his trainers to take on the Exeter marathon on Sunday, May 19, in aid of Sidmouth Lifeboat.
His father Alan, who was affectionately known as 'little Al', was a keen surfer who used his lifeguard training to set up a voluntary surf livesaving group.
The surfers carried out beach patrols which developed to form the independent lifeboat service as it is today.
Little Al remained an active member of the lifeboat until his death at the age of 73 last July.
His son had been planning to do a marathon for some time after taking up running in January 2018 when he joined the Exeter College running club- Cranbrook - completing his first half marathon five months later.
Following his father's death in July, Mark was hit by another set back when he suffered shin pain, only to find through an x-ray a suspicious lump on the bone.
With concerns the lump was bone cancer, Mark made many trips to Birmingham orthopaedic hospital for biopsies on suspected bone cancer.
He deferred an appointment to be able to complete the Great West run and was given the all clear of bone cancer on January 8 this year. That day he signed up for his first marathon.
He said: "I always wanted to be a runner but never thought I could.
"I'm just an average guy in his 40s who last run was at school in my teens. I can't stress enough that anyone can become a runner and fall in love with it. I've seen it time and again in the last 16 months. I've been around the beach my whole life.
"I remember climbing all over the lifeboat in the station as a kid, I've surfed around locally and not so local and really appreciate the effort these guys put into water safety.
"Seeing the dedication, passion and bravery of everyone involved at Sidmouth Lifeboat is inspiring.
"To this end I couldn't miss the opportunity to highlight the work these guys do and hopefully raise them some funds with my efforts."
Mark has set himself a target of £500 to donate to the lifeboat.
A Sidmouth Lifeboat spokesman said: "Sidmouth Lifeboat is a fully self-funded independent organisation, on service 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, covering approximately 150 square miles of sea, and all crew members and support staff are volunteers. We are only able to offer this service to our local community thanks to the generosity of donors and volunteers. We'd like to say huge thank you to Mark for taking on this challenge to raise money for Sidmouth Lifeboat, particularly given his family's legacy at the Station. 100 per cent of the money Mark raises will be used to keep the boat maintained and crew trained and equipped. Good luck, Mark, we know you'll smash the marathon."
Visit Mark's Go Fund Me page here.