Driffield News

Eight weeks to get marathon fit

In memory of his grandad, former Driffield School & Sixth Form student Rhys Holland is preparing to run the 2023 TCS London Marathon – despite only having signed up four weeks ago and not having run since March 2020.

Rhys is running the iconic event, which takes place on Sunday 23rd April, to raise money and awareness for MS-UK – a charity which supports the 130,000 people in the UK affected by multiple sclerosis.

Rhys’ grandad Harry Holland suffered from MS and died in 1995 as one of the longest surviving patients with the disease having lived with MS for 40 years.

Inspired by his grandfather, Rhys, who now lives in London, but visits his mum Sally Goode in Driffield every other week, said he wants to run for those affected by MS and to make his grandad proud.

“Around four weeks ago I was scrolling through LinkedIn and found an advert for fundraising for MS-UK,” he told the Wolds Weekly.

“MS has affected my life as my grandad had it and died in 1995 as one of the longest surviving patients with the disease.

“I put my name and contact details into the advert link and thought nothing much of it. A few hours later I got a call from MS-UK asking me if I would be up for running the London Marathon this year.

“I checked my calendar and it was eight weeks away. I then checked my Strava app and realised that I hadn’t been for a run since March 2020 and that was only a 5K, but I just couldn’t let this opportunity pass me by, so I agreed to do it.”

Although 30-year-old Rhys tried to enter the London Marathon through the ballot in 2017, he has never attempted to run this kind of distance before.

“The furthest I have run before this was a 10K and given the short amount of time I have to train; I have had to hit the ground running – literally.

“In my first week I ran a five-mile route and then I did a half marathon back up in Driffield, where I ran out to Nafferton, Wansford and Skerne and Little Driffield.

“It’s been tough going and I have had to soak my feet in cider vinegar and lemon to help my blisters and I have a niggle with my knee so I have had to slow down my pace.

“But I am feeling confident I can do it and it would be my dream to complete it in four hours, although I realise in reality that might be pushing it too far.”

He said despite the hard work, he has the drive and motivation to keep going thanks to his grandad.

“Growing up, I never had a chance to fully get to know my grandad because he passed away when I was three.

“But from what I have learnt about him, he was an incredible man.

“He left school and worked in the Manchester bus garage cleaning buses, and joined the union and worked up to become a union rep.

“Because of this, he was able to gain a place at Oxford University where he managed to work hard and gain not only a bachelors, but a PhD in psychology.

“He became a lecturer at the University of London writing his thesis called The Spiral After Effects helping to progress the research of schizophrenia. Then MS hit and his world was turned upside down.

“My grandad was a very proud man and a principled man and I hope he would be proud of what I am trying to do.”

Rhys has a target of raising £2,000 for MS-UK and hopes people will help him reach his target by donating to his fundraising page www.justgiving.com/RhysHolland.

He added: “Any donation, big or small, will help to sustain the important services MS-UK provides for people with MS and will help to keep me going through the tough training.

“Meanwhile, if you see me running around Driffield, Nafferton, Wansford, Skerne and Little Driffield with my #teampurple vest on, please give me a wave. It’ll pick me up through these intense next few weeks.”

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