There’s just over a month to go until runners from across the UK take to the streets of the capital for the London Marathon. We have a lot of inspirational people running for us this year. Ahead of the big day, Tom Buckley talked to us about his marathon journey so far – from first setting foot on the running track to dramatic weight loss success.

For Tom, running is not something which has ever come naturally. The 32-year-old dad from Sussex weighed 17 stone when he first decided to put his running shoes on.

Tom told us: “About a year ago I was inspired by a good friend of mine to start fundraising for charity. I was quite a lot heavier then, so running seemed like a fitting challenge. I am really not built to run. My chicken legs often look like they’re buckling under the weight in photos!

“I did the Hastings Half-Marathon and I think people sponsored me because it seemed so unachievable – when I signed up, I couldn’t run a bath! ‘Run Fat Boy Run’ was my slogan. I was chuffed to finish the race in just over two hours and raise £1,500 for a good cause.”

Within a year, Tom lost an incredible 3 stone in weight and is ready to take on his next challenge.


Tom on his wedding day when he weighed 17st and celebrating the end of the Hastings Half-Marathon, when he dropped to 15st

Going the extra mile

After a cracking success in the half-marathon, Tom decided to keep pushing himself. He signed up for the London Marathon this year to raise money for people with learning disabilities, physical disabilities and mental health needs.

“The charity aspect has given me the motivation to keep running and go for the marathon – I know I can’t pull out when I think of the people I am helping,” said Tom.

“I am fundraising for United Response because I personally think there is not enough support out there for people with mental health needs. I have a friend who has experienced mental health problems and my sister told me about some great work United Response has done at a school she worked in. Something about the charity just made me want to help.”

Tom recently ran the Worthing Half-Marathon, and has dropped to under 14st in weight

Finding the time to train

Training for a marathon is a huge challenge for anyone, but with a full-time job and family, many runners struggle to find the time.

Tom explains how he’s making running a significant part of his life:

“My training is going well so far. As well as long distance running, I do spin every week and my wife and I attend a running club together which is based on strength and speed. Between full-time work and family, running is always the hard bit to fit in, so I often end up training until as late as 10pm. But I like it as it gives me time to clear my head from work.”

Tom is well on his way to reaching his £1,500 fundraising target. Can you help him achieve his goal?
Donate to Tom's fundraising page

Feeling inspired?

We’re always looking for people to get involved in fundraising activities. If you’re inspired by Tom’s story, why not check out how you can take part in one of our upcoming events?

RideLondon is the next big one – a 100-mile cycle through London and Surrey on closed roads, following the route made famous by the 2012 Olympics. Sign up now to cycle for United Response, and help us support people with disabilities and mental health needs to live the lives they deserve! 

Find out more about RideLondon

Danielle Mendel, press and campaigns assistant.

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