Everton man runs marathon in his back garden for East Anglian Air Ambulance

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A determined runner has raised over £2,500 for the East Anglian Air Ambulance (EAAA) after completing a marathon in his back garden.

Phil Durham, 47, from Everton, wasn’t going to let the cancellation of April’s Brighton Marathon dampen his spirits, and decided to run all 
26.5 miles at his home on Saturday.

Phil was inspired to take action this Easter after seeing a BBC news report about the EAAA, which has launched an urgent appeal for £100,000 in order to fund personal protective equipment (PPE) over the next six months.

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Phil, 47, said: “It was very hard. I have done a marathon previously, but Saturday’s was in a confined space with lots of to-ing and fro-ing. The scenery wasn’t changing for six hours!

Phil Durham running the marathon in his garden.Phil Durham running the marathon in his garden.
Phil Durham running the marathon in his garden. | User (UGC)

“However, I just kept saying to myself this will end, so just keep putting one foot in front of the other, think of the money being raised, and the finish line will eventually appear.

“The news report on the 7th said that the EAAA had to dip into its £25,000 reserves - by the sounds of it, it doesn’t really last that long.

“On that night, I decided to help. I didn’t know it was a charity in its own right. I was shocked to be honest, in this day and age. They put themselves at risk to save lives.”

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Phil set up an iPad in his back bedroom window so he could stream his journey live on Facebook, while friends and family left comments and messages of support.

Phil and SarahPhil and Sarah
Phil and Sarah | User (UGC)

His wife, Sarah, 38, relayed the comments to Phil and joined him when he was struggling to set the pace and kept his spirits up.

Phil laughed: “Initially, when people first heard about it, they were a bit taken aback.

“There was a bit of banter - ‘I don’t think you’ll be able to do it, it’s too hot!’

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“But I got a lot of positive feedback in the comments - ‘you can do it, Phil, you’re making us proud’. They also watched the video and saw I was struggling, saying ‘Come on Phil, you can do it’.

Phil DurhamPhil Durham
Phil Durham | User (UGC)

“My neighbour’s young daughter was also running up and down their lawn at one point to support me.”

Phil had been preparing to run the Brighton Marathon in April to raise awareness about Kawasaki Disease, so his limbs were more than prepared to tackle 1,695 lengths of his garden - with a few jelly babies eaten beforehand to give him an extra sugar rush!

But with the event cancelled and rescheduled for September, Phil still wanted to use his legs for a good cause.

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He said: “I have had some really great feedback from the EAAA. I have kept them informed and they sent me a really nice personal message.

“I have sent my love out to everyone, just saying how overwhelmed I am and to thank people for all the support they have given me.

“I think that in this day and age, if you have got the time and the will, you can achieve a lot. Just look at Captain Tom Moore, he has raised an enormous amount of money.

“If you want to help a charity and raise money and awareness, then do it.”

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Phil would like to thank his work colleagues at Frontier Agriculture, Sandy, for sending an internal email to staff to help raise money for his cause.

He would also like to say a big thank you to Sarah for all her support.

The EAAA operates across Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire. It attended 178 missions and treated 111 patients last month alone. To donate to Phil’s campaign, visit: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/PhilDurham and click on the Home Marathon link.

(This page is closed for donations. Please donate via the Virgin page.)

To find out more about the EAAA, please visit: https://www.eaaa.org.uk

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