Epic 12 marathon challenge in memory of boy who died of meningitis

John Fensom will finish his final race at the London Marathon in April. Picture: MENINGITIS NOW

John Fensom will finish his final race at the London Marathon in April. Picture: MENINGITIS NOW - Credit: Archant

Multiple marathon runner John Fensom will be taking on an incredible 12 challenges – all to raise money in memory of a family friend’s son who died of meningitis.

Mr Fensom, from Halesworth, decided to run 12 marathons in a year after the son of his childhood friend, Bryan Hall, died from meningitis B.

Mr Hall and his wife Georgie lost their six-year-old son, Ollie, in October 2017.

Now Mr Fensom has pledged to run twelve marathons all over the country – including in Ipswich, Edinburgh, Richmond and finishing with the London marathon in April.

He is raising money for Meningitis Now.

“After seeing the devastation to Bryan and Georgie and his younger brother Charlie by Oliver’s sudden death from meningitis I knew I wanted to do something,” he said.

“I’m grateful that my 12th and final marathon of the challenge will be at London 2019.

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“It’s a special event for me, not only because it was my first ever marathon but also because my father was dying of cancer at the time.

“I had to make the hard decision to run it as I knew that’s what he wanted.

“Luckily, I was able to get back to him to show him my finisher’s medal – but he died four days later.”

Mr Fensom will be thinking of Ollie and his father on the day of the race.

“London 2019 will not only be a special end to the challenge, it’ll also be two years to the day since his passing.

“I’ll be running with both dad and Oliver in my heart – it’ll be emotional, that’s for sure.”

Mr Fensom started running four years ago after going through what he called a “pretty bad” mental and emotional breakdown.

He said he fell in love with the sport, finding it calming and meditative, adding: “It’s not that I stop thinking as I run.

“But it helps untangle my thoughts and create space.”

If you want to donate to John’s challenge, visit his fundraising page here.

Meningitis is inflammation of the membranes that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord – usually caused by bacteria or viruses.

Meningitis UK is the only charity in England dedicated to researching the illness.

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