Clevedon dad Tom Sharp to run London Marathon for charity
By Prue_Reid | Monday, November 05, 2012, 13:02
STOP PRESS: With just days to go Clevedon dad Tom Sharp has reached his sponsorship goal of £2,000 with the biggest contribution from the family bag packing session at Tesco. We wish him luck.
Tom Sharp pictured with brother Ben after successfully completing the Bristol half marathon
Tom's biggest supporters - son Billy and daughter Daisy - with their go faster placard
By golly he's done it!
STOP PRESS: Tom, family and friends will be wearing Santa hats and tinsel for a sponsored bag packing session at Tesco, Clevedon, on Saturday, December 15. Please support him and give generously.
Clevedon dad Tom Sharp is putting his best foot forward next year to run the London Marathon for charity.
He is only hoping his 'dodgy' knee will stand the pace of pounding 26 miles and 385 yards along the city roads for VICTA - Visually Impaired Children Taking Action.
Tom, aged 35, works for pace as a graphic designer and had an operation for an old football injury a few years ago.
He said: "I am taking part in the London Marathon next year on Sunday, April 21.
"And yes - I must need my head looking at!"
Tom tore his ligaments while playing football for Clevedon United four years ago and starting taking running more seriously while recuperating.
He said: "The knee should be okay as I had a successful anterior cruciate ligament operation a few years back so fingers crossed."
Tom is married to teacher Jo, 38, and the couple has three children – Lauren, aged 11, Daisy, seven, and three-year-old Billy.
Tom said: "My target is to raise £2,000 for VICTA - a charity who look after blind and partially sighted children like my boy Billy.
"Billy has nystagmus and is partially sighted so this is a charity close to my heart.
"I will be attempting to raise £2,000 in various ways, bag packing at Tesco, car washing, quiz nights and raffles.
"pace is also supporting me and will also be putting a collection box at our retail premises in the Triangle.
"I would also like to put several more of these around the town, hopefully there will be some support for this from local businesses.
"It is a scary looking amount of money at the moment but with everyone helping I know we can get there. If anyone has any other interesting money-raising ideas I would love to hear from them."
Billy was six months old when a grandmother first noticed his eyes 'darting about'.
A referral from the GP to Bristol Eye Hospital confirmed the diagnosis.
He also has a squint in both eyes.
Tom started running for charity 10 years ago and has raised money for Bristol Children's Hospital, Clic and more recently the Sue Ryder Hospice at Moggerhanger which supported his late father Michael in his final days.
The first race Tom entered was the Tough Ten at Weston-super-Mare and he has completed seven or eight different long-distance runs since then.
More recently he took part in the Bristol half marathon.
Tom said: "It nearly killed me.
"The first nine miles were fine but the last four felt like 400, it was agony.
"The need to beat someone dressed as the honey monster spurred me on - I couldn't let him pass me.
"The Bristol run was amazing, there was a great atmosphere and terrific support and London should be even bigger and better."
Tom intends to write a blog about his gruelling training regime and is appealing for sponsorship and support from family, friends, local businesses and sporting clubs.
Some have already pledged their help including Tom's company pace, several members of staff at Alliance Homes and Petros Charalambous, of Clevedon's Scoozi Restaurant.
Three or four times a week he can be spotted running around Clevedon, and the weekend run incorporates the coast road, the Lakegrounds at Portishead, Clapton Lane and Nortons Wood Lane.
He said: "I decided five years ago that I really wanted to take part in the London Marathon, it's the pinnacle for runners and has done such fabulous things for charities over the years.
"I feel really lucky to have found a place with VICTA, it is a tremendous charity which relies almost solely on the London Marathon for donations.
"I really don't have a target time-wise, just finishing will be an achievement.
"However, I would be delighted to get under four hours, my uncle John who lives in Leeds managed this back in the 80s which he enjoys reminding me about whenever we get together."
Tom said he is thinking of dyeing his hair the VICTA rainbow colours for his run when the whole family will be in London to cheer him on.
The 2012 Virgin London Marathon raised a record £52.8 million for charity and brings the total raised for hundreds of charitable causes since the race began in 1981 to £610.7 million.
There were a record 36,705 London Marathon finishers in 2012 with 74 per cent of these running for charities.
VICTA was founded in 1987 by parents of blind and partially sighted children and has grown to a national service for all families with a visually impaired child.
You can find out more about their work by visiting its website by clicking HERE.
To help Tom and donate click HERE.