Tuesday 17th April 2012
Barefoot runner Simon Grundy will honour his late father when he runs the London Marathon, a week after his dad passed away.
Simon, 37, opted to run the 26.2 mile race on behalf of Brain Tumour UK to give his dad, Roy, "something to focus on" after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour in 2011.
Simon said: "At first we thought dad would come to London to watch me, but then he got too unwell and was planning to watch the race on television. He was very supportive."
Roy died on April 14, aged 77.
Simon said: "His death has given new impetus to my run and has given me a lot to think about on the day. It is going to be a very, very emotional day."
Simon, who hails from Australia but who now lives in Much Marcle, Herefordshire, is part of a 44-strong team running for Brain Tumour UK, and one of a growing number of runners who compete barefoot.
He toughened his feet walking barefoot across canyons in blistering heat.
As part of his training, Simon did a half-marathon barefoot earlier this year, using a technique advocated by American barefoot runner Ken Bob.
Simon said: "You don't put your heel down first, but land on the ball of your foot, lifting your toes. You also take much shorter strides."
But the running style is not without pain, at one point Simon used Superglue to mend a gash in his foot.
Francesca Towson, Brain Tumour UK's community fundraiser, said: "Simon's determination to run the Virgin London Marathon barefoot for us, is very inspiring and greatly appreciated. We are so sorry for his loss and will think of him every step of the way."
To support Simon, visit http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/simongrundy.