Yoxford: Runner hopes London Marathon could spark paralympic dream

Tom Haslam, who was born with a club foot, is running in his first London Marathon to raise money fo

Tom Haslam, who was born with a club foot, is running in his first London Marathon to raise money for the Feet First Worldwide charity that gives operations to children with club feet in foreign countries. - Credit: Archant

ONE Suffolk runner is hoping this weekend’s London Marathon could prove the springboard to bigger and better things - culminating in a trip to Brazil for the 2016 Paralympics.

Tom Haslam, 41, from Yoxford, was born with a club foot.

It was operated on when he was young and it has left him with a weaker and shorter left leg.

On Sunday he will be striding out with thousands of other runners for this year’s Virgin London Marathon.

It is the first time Mr Haslam has run the event, although he has completed the 26.2 mile distance in the past, having three years ago taken part in the Brighton Marathon.

As well as raising the profile of his chosen charity, Feet First Worldwide, he hopes to complete the race in his “good for age” time of three hours and 15 minutes.

Mr Haslam, who works for brewers Adnams in Southwold, said: “That’s the target. But we’ll see. Training has been a little mixed. I’ve had a foot injury so haven’t been able to run for a fortnight so I’m a bit behind schedule and it’s proving quite a challenge. However I recently ran a half marathon in Stowmarket and that was OK.”

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Feet First Worldwide is a UK charity based in Blackpool, set up to raise money to help treat lower limb deformities in the developing world and to educate local doctors in the treatment of these conditions.

Mr Haslam, who has been applying to enter the race for the last five years, said: “I’m looking forward to it. Just the whole atmosphere will be incredible.

“Feet First is a cause very close to my heart and hopefully, as well as raising a little bit of money, I can increase the profile of the charity.

“The club foot has not stopped me, in fact I think it probably motivates me more. In May I’m going to be taking part in the Eastern Region Disabled Athletics Championships. I’d like to see if I could get classified as a paralympic runner in time for Rio in 2016.”

If you would like to support Mr Haslam visit www.justgiving.com/tomboyhaslam.

N If you know someone running the marathon, send them your words of encouragement through our online message board. We will be publishing the messages online and in print ahead of Sunday’s race.

Visit www.eadt.co.uk/news/marathon for more information.

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