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A message from Palmers Green resident Benjamin Cuthbertson.

Like many thousands of people across the UK, I was training for a marathon when news broke of the Coronavirus arriving in the UK. Since the 1st November I have run 1043 training miles (and counting!), got through three pairs of trainers, and even run on Christmas Day. My planned event has rightly been postponed, but I've been left with a feeling that something needs to be done right now for those who are struggling. I was due to run the Manchester marathon on Sunday 5th April, but now I'm planning to run the very first, very special Palmers Green Marathon.

palmers green marathon courseThe full 26.22

On the morning of Sunday 5th - as long as the lockdown rules permit - I will run the official marathon distance of 26.22 miles around the quiet streets of Palmers Green. I've calculated a one-mile lap, meaning I will run this 26 times (plus 385 yards). I'm aiming for a specific time of 3 hours, but also aiming to put all those hours of training to good use to raise some much needed cash.

The pandemic has affected us all in unexpected ways, but for some it has totally turned their worlds upside down. I'd like to play my part in supporting those who suddenly have nothing. I'd also like to show that - whilst we have to be physically separate - we can also stand together to defeat this thing.

Three ways you can help me and the people I'm running for

You can cheer me on from inside your homes, or count my laps as you and your families stay at home. Please don't come out — not least as I'll have to run an extra two metres to go around you!

If you live near the two locations circled on the route map above, it would be incredibly helpful if you could kindly leave a small gap in the parked cars for me to run through.

If you can afford to, you can donate to my justgiving page — I am fundraising for foodbanks to support those in the most need right now - www.justgiving.com/fundraising/palmers-marathon.

Challenging times

As a country, we've faced challenging times before, and I've no doubt we will get through this too_ The thing is that we normally overcome adversity by coming together, whilst this virus is forcing us to be apart. I'm hoping that in a way this small act of individual madness helps you all smile as you see me go past your home — again — and shows that even as we are physically apart, we are still facing this together.

The small print

The UK Government encourages us each to take one form of individual exercise a day, even during lockdown. I'll be running this on my own, on our quiet residential streets - and keeping at least two metres from anyone else who's out too. Please don't come out to offer jelly babies or to high five (as you might do in a usual marathon), it's important we all stick to government instructions to defeat this.

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