100 runners pledge to “finish” London Marathon in Ipswich park in honour of man who died during Sunday’s race

Roughly 100 runners, led by Vicki French, Luke Read and Kat Parnell are set to come together on Sund

Roughly 100 runners, led by Vicki French, Luke Read and Kat Parnell are set to come together on Sunday to �finish� the London Marathon in memory of Matt Campbell. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Over 100 Ipswich locals are set to come together this weekend to “finish” the London Marathon in memory of 29-year-old Matt Campbell, who collapsed on Sunday with 3.7 miles left to run.

Vicki French, Luke Read and Kat Parnell training in Christchurch Park. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Vicki French, Luke Read and Kat Parnell training in Christchurch Park. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Ipswich residents Vicki French, Kat Parnell and Luke Read have organised a gathering in Christchurch Park to run the final stretch of Mr Campbell’s race – a tribute which they hope will bring the community closer, and highlight the dedication it takes to run a marathon.

Runners are invited to meet at the Westerfield Road entrance to the park at 12.50pm on April 29, for a 1pm start.

Mrs French, a fitness instructor from Ipswich who also ran the London Marathon on Sunday, said she hoped the event would be a fitting tribute to Mr Campbell, and inspire people to get moving.

She said everyone was welcome to take part, whether they are “into running or just feel moved by the story”.


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“Running a marathon is a massive undertaking and a huge commitment for all runners, it certainly was for me,” she said.

“The running community in Ipswich is supportive and inclusive to all.

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“For that reason I’m not surprised that so many people are coming together on Sunday to pay tribute to Matt and to finish his run.”

Ms Parnell added: “Being able to run in the London Marathon is a phenomenal experience, full of a whole world of emotion. Sadly on Sunday a life was lost whilst taking on this incredible feat.

Vicki French, Luke Read and Kat Parnell organised the run in memory of Matt Campbell, who collapsed

Vicki French, Luke Read and Kat Parnell organised the run in memory of Matt Campbell, who collapsed with just 3.7 miles left to run. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

“Thousands of people around the world are now finishing the race that Matt started and it only felt right to get as many people as possible together in Ipswich to do the same to pay tribute to this loving man.”

As a token of respect, each participant will be asked to donate £5 to Mr Campbell’s chosen charity, the Brathay Trust, which seeks to maximise the potential of young people facing challenging circumstances.

Mr Campbell originally hoped to raise £2,500 for the Cumbria-based charity in memory of his father, however since his death donations have soared to more than £179,000 at the time of writing – with an unprecedented 14,000 people digging deep to show their support.

Mr Read, founder of Airborne Fit, said: “Running the London Marathon, alongside thousands of amazing people, is a fantastic experience and not one to be underestimated. The true enormity of the challenge was demonstrated only too well last Sunday, when sadly, we lost an incredible guy in Matt Campbell.

“Being able to finish the race that he started in Matt’s memory is an absolute honour and it is a privilege that Airborne members can come together with others in the local community to complete the 3.7 mile run in show of our support.”

Mr Campbell, a chef from Kendal, was previously in the public eye when he reached the semi-finals of Masterchef: The Professionals in 2017. He also finished second in the BBC’s Young Chef of the Year competition in 2009 – which steered him towards a career working in Michelin-starred restaurants.

More than 9,000 people have joined the national Facebook event ‘Finish for Matt’, which was set up by fellow marathon runner Matt Dorber in the wake of Mr Campbell’s death.

Writing on the Facebook group, Mr Dorber said: “This has been mainly set up as part of the London Marathon training group.

“Four thousand of us have given each other advice and support over the last few months, and a small gesture of solidarity would be to ‘finish’ the run for Matt.

“It may be in London, Somerset, Manchester, where ever you are, but if as many people can do a 3.7m run and give £5 to Matt’s Justgiving page, I think that’d be a nice gesture from us as a group.”

To find out more about the run, and how to take part, go to the Facebook page: ‘3.7 Mile Run To Finish Matt Campbell’s London Marathon. RIP’.

To donate to the Brathay Trust, go to Mr Campbell’s JustGiving page.

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