John Owens’ #ReasontoRun

“My #ReasontoRun is that following a serious illness, running gives me a new lease of life – it’s great.”

This week, we spoke to John, who took up running following a serious illness and multiple strokes, is running the London Marathon in memory of his friend Davy.

The challenge

Last year, after what he says was a very difficult summer of training – three years after his second stroke – John took on the Scottish Half Marathon and the Great Scottish Run. He says;

“Dealing with my illness brought a lot of negativity to my outlook on life and at my lowest point even considered ending it all. It makes me emotional now just thinking about it, but I have the fight, believe and strength to continue to move forward.”

He felt a huge boost of self-esteem and motivation from completing his challenges and was feeling very positive. He attributes some of this positivity to his friend Davy, with whom he’d served in the military, and was always giving him encouragement.

Just 6 days after completing the Great Scottish Run, John received a devastating call saw him slip back into negativity; Davy had taken his own life. John says;

“I felt empty. During his funeral we passed the chorus of motorbike engines and bagpipes saying goodbye and right then, through the tears, I decided I need to do something to keep his memory alive. Shortly after, I came up with the idea of ‘DavysRun‘. We both served in the Military together and he was such a gentleman, he will always be remembered for putting others before himself, I wanted to do something for him.”

DavysRun will consist of a double marathon challenge – the Virgin Money London Marathon and Stirling Scottish Marathon – as well as various other runs, while continuing to battle his ongoing illness of having a hole in his heart, John wondered whether it could possibly be done. However, he says that with the drive and determination he now has and the inspiration from all my family and friends, he believes he can do it.

The cause

John chose to fundraise for Chest Heart and Stroke Scotland “because they do an outstanding job of researching and advising causes of illness, treating people who have to adapt to a new lifestyle following illness and as a legacy to Davy, I’ve looked into the further investigation of the link from illness to suicide.” John will also be running for Help For Heroes and, as a beneficiary of their ‘Hidden Wounds‘ programme, will continue to raise awareness of suicide throughout the rest of the year with various running events all over the country. John concludes by telling us;

“What keeps me going is the spirit of fellow runners. I’m motivated to achieve success and everyone I speak to is full of praise. I’m new to fundraising and find this a challenge in its own, but the help and positive attitude of everyone I talk to certainly keeps me motivated and Davy’s spirit alive – preventing another family’s suffering.”

You can support John’s fundraising via his Virgin Money Giving page.

About Ian Humphreys