Posted by: mads04 | April 4, 2013

London Marathon (What the f**k are you doing?)

I’ve done a lot of daft things in my life, some might say choosing football as a career, others might say attempting to sing, most will say trying to fix a puncture on my car wheel with 8 sticks of Wrigley’s chewing gum(True story,I knew I should’ve used Hubba Bubba!!) but nearly everyone who has found out im doing the London marathon have all asked me the very same question “What the fuck are you doing?”

I understand their concern and worries, but I have always enjoyed challenges and attempting the London marathon two and a half years after my Motor Nuerone Disease diagnosis is most definitely the biggest challenge ive done,I completed the Liverpool marathon in September 2012 with a load of friends and family in 6 hours 20 minutes and it was the toughest test i have put my body through.So to attempt another marathon 6 months later with this terminal muscle wasting disease is as you might think the daftest thing ive ever done!! My Doctors and nurses think im mad but I am doing it to raise money and awareness for MND/ALS and also for every single person around the world who have been affected by this killer disease. Not just people who have MND but also for their family and friends who have been roped into the killer world of MND. Even though I am now a professional benefits receiver, I am also a full-time MND Fundraiser and MND awareness maker( I’ve just made that word up!!) There are thousands of people worldwide affected by MND who can’t do what i can do at the moment so I take it upon myself to do as much as I can to help even though that help may include doing daft things like running marathons or jumping out of planes!!

We did a sky dive last saturday,30 of us plus family and friends travelled up to Lancaster to jump out of a plane all for MND. We had to be there at 8am and it was first come first served, Which basically meant if you signed in first you would be above the clouds sooner rather than later.To say there was a few scared faces up there would be a understatment, so much so that some people packed spare undies aswell as a packed lunch!! We arrived nice and early and as I was queuing with my mate Peter(Who was definitely a member of the spare undie brigade) we were told that for an extra £40 we could go up to 15000 feet instead of the easy 10000 feet! Peter looked at me and said “No mate, don’t even ask me” I’ve known Peter all my life so he knew what was coming. “You’re a shithouse you, I thought we were in this together” I said to him knowing he would give in to my MND pressure! “I fuckin hate you” he said and parted with his £40 as he asked the lady who worked there “Will we go up together”(Who said romance was dead) to which the lady replied “Your names are together on the list so i am sure you will” which made Peter put his spare undies back in his bag!!.As the morning went on the first few of our brave(Daft) jumpers went up and landed safely which seemed to ease Peter’s nerves which couldn’t be said about his brother Michael, who was by now looking like a piece of jelly on a plate(All he was missing was some ice cream).

We had to do a debriefing about the jump with things like how to jump properly out of the plane and also land without dying! We were told that upon landing your instructor would ask you to raise your feet so they were parallel with your waist to make it easier and safer to land and we all had to demonstrate this after passing our debrief we all went back and waited for our names to be called.My name got called out along with a lad called Mel who had travelled from Leeds to jump for his auntie who sadly passed away with MND a few years ago,The look on Peters face when he realised we wouldn’t be going on the plane together was priceless “Why arent I going with you mate?” he asked me “I don’t fuckin know do I,I don’t work here” I told him,he was obviously wanting a more sympathetic answer by the look of sheer panic that had now stuck on his face! So me and my new mate Mel walked off to get kitted out for our big jump with Peter stood there like a love struck teenager who had just been dumped for the school stunner! We had to get harnessed up in a jump suit and straight away I felt restricted but thought fuck it im not saying anything incase they wouldn’t let me jump.Out we walked like a pair of astronauts on are way to an Apollo mission,seriously I was walking like an astronaut the harness on my groin was tighter than a Bombay money-lender!! Mel was with his instructor who seemed a nice enough fella were as I was waiting for mine to get on the plane and as soon as he got on the plane he stunk of arrogance and straight away I knew he was a prick, John his name was(Or Knobhead as i’ll call him) and he had a kipper like a leather handbag with blonde tints in his hair(and I was putting my life in this clowns hands!) he never had any manners to start with and no patience asking for everything to be done in a hurry like fastening my helmet which I obviously can’t do because my hands are about as useful as a chocolate fireguard!! as we shuffled down the plane the adrenalin was pumping and I couldn’t wait to go “3, 2, 1, GO” Knobhead shouted and out we went hurtling towards the ground at 120 mph. What a rush this was the best feeling in the world and felt a million miles away from the day when I was diagnosed.suddenly the parachute opened (bonus I thought!) I then realised knobhead was strapped to my back, he tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to raise my legs as a tester for when we landed, I raised my legs as far as they could go to which he said in a nasty voice “Come on you can get them higher than that” I replied “That’s as far as they will go mate” “Well” he said “If that’s as far as they’ll go we’ve got problems” obviously trying to scare me into getting my legs higher, so I told him”Well we have got problems mate because that’s as high as their fuckin going” I knew my legs were high enough to land he was just being a prick but having an argument with a man who is carrying the only parachute between us at 10000 feet wasnt one of my better ideas!! as we were landing he shouted “We might have to land face down if your legs wont go higher” “As long as we land mate im not arsed” I shouted back, It wouldn’t do my good looks any harm landing face first and by the looks of his crocodile face it certainly wouldn’t do him any either!! Anyway we landed safe and sound even if I did eat a bit of grass for my troubles but overall it was well worth it and an unbelievable experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking to do something for charity.

The London marathon takes place on the 21st of April, my mate Tony is doing it with me and he is down as my carer for the race. we are aiming to raise around £3000 for the MND Association and to my knowledge and the MNDA’s I will be the first person ever to attempt the London marathon with MND and we are hoping that with that fact it will raise more much-needed awareness for this global killer.I’ll try and explain what I am attempting to do, when you train your body for an endurance event you need to build yourself up and gradually get yourself to a peak so when the event comes you are fully prepared mentally as well as physically, you need to build stamina and muscle to help get you through it. well I can’t do that because no matter how hard I might try in the gym I cannot build muscle mass up because MND is a muscle wasting disease and I can’t really work on my stamina because I struggle with my breathing sometimes(The fuckin things you’ve got to do to raise awareness!!)

I hope you can help me spread the word about the marathon and also the fantastic work MND Merseyside and the MND Association are doing for people who like me who never asked for MND. Physically im not prepared for the marathon but mentally I know I am. MND can fuck right off if it thinks its going to stop me from crossing that finish line on April 21st and you have my word on that…

Thank you for all your support and remember keep smiling,stay positive and if at first you don’t succeed don’t try skydiving!!!


To be continued




  1. Ur an absolute nutter!! But I luv reading these stories an ur determination to not let this diesease stop u from achieving things is amazin!! Ur such an inspirational man mark gud luck for the marathon can’t wait to hear how u get on xxx

  2. just the record mate I was calm #MNDskydiver !!!!! boss read again mate. a total insperation.. No doubt u will nail this mathathon and show again 2 x fingers to MND #MNDlegend

  3. Utter legend Mark – again brutal honesty makes inspirational reading yet again – well done mate – complete star!

  4. you’re an inspiration man, never change who you are, this world needs more people like you!

  5. Well done Mark. You are an amazing person. Good luck for the marathon

  6. You are an inspiration! I’m also running the marathon and it is hard enough in full health. Anita Frith at MNDA shared your blog with the whole MNDA London mara team via email so I hope you get lots of support from all of us. I actually work for Save the Children, so all my colleagues will be there on the day cheering on our runners, but I will make sure they look out for you and cheer for you too.

  7. Loved reading this again mark always puts a smile on my face, u have a great attitude towards life and this shitty mnd, great young man truly insperational.xx

  8. Good Luck Mark! truly an insporational MND awareness maker!!!!!
    I don’t know you but i can tell from what you have written above that nothing will stand in your way!

  9. You are a inspiration to everyone out there mate wot your doing for mnd is amazing and I’m so privileged to have met you and I hope I can make some noise for mnd this year
    Your a true warrior

    Tomorrow is my dads anniversary 5 years past were does time go its a serial feeling reading some of your blogs a lot of things I personally can relate to especially John Lennon quote that song was played at his funeral ( mad ) ha

    You have a lovely lovely family mate I can only imagine how proud of you they are keep up the hard work your the man

    Your mate

    Richie DOWNES

  10. You’re such an inspiration. Good luck with the marathon and that read about the jump was fabulous xx

  11. Having lost my partner to MND 5yrs ago I fully appreciate what you go through each day. I have been reading your blogs with sadness but also with admiration at your humour and your strong determination not to let this cruel disease beat you something which Richie also had too he kept me going with this attitude. I bring up our son who is now 7 and when the time is right I will tell him of his dads amazing fight with MND and the courage and determination he met it with. Having learnt about you from Richies other son I shall now follow you and wish you all the best in your quest to raise a better awareness of this life destructing disease for all affected by it – keep strong x

  12. Mark your determination (and your sense of humour) reminds me so much of my brother, David, who was diagnosed with MND. We lost David to this cruel disease but I can honestly say that I didn’t think there was anyone as courageous as him until I read your blog. David was also football daft, a huge Glasgow Rangers supporter (no laughing at the back) and I took him to games until he couldn’t physically go any more. You sound like the kind of person he would have been mates with 🙂 I truly wish you the best of luck in the marathon and I look forward to reading about your inspirational journey x

  13. Good luck Mark (and our Tony), I know you will complete the London Marathon cos you do everything you put your mind too (and especially your body) through, how you actually do it god only knows for he must also be looking after you. Take care x

  14. Dude you crack me up! It’s a priviledge to know you mate. Will be keeping everything crossed for you tomorrow. Inspirational doesn’t come close. Keep blogging, love Nogsy! ha x

  15. Truly inspirational mate.
    Good Luck tomorrow from all the lads at Sefton Vets F.C.

  16. I was diagnosed with MND in September 2012,i have already lost use of both arms, struggle to hold my head up and lost quite a lot of the muscle in the top of my body. by all accounts mine is quite aggressive.
    reading your story and that you are doing the London marathon has inspired me to get off my arse and do something.
    in my youth I ran marathons but some days now I struggle to stand so alas I can’t do that, but I am thinking if I put my mind to it I could walk 10 miles.
    so good luck and watch this space .

    “I might have lost a couple of rounds but I haven’t lost the fight yet”

  17. Congratulations Mark, you are unbelievable, what an achievement in completing the London 2013 marathon. Followed you on the marathon website, as I had to give the ‘salad dodger’ regular updates of yours and our Tony’s progress. Well done to you both. Keep fighting MND

  18. Great achievement Mark and look at how much you have raised – brilliant!

  19. I hope you are recovering from the Marathon dad was diagnosed in Jan 2011 with MND and is our inspiration too. He, like you, remains positive, upbeat, funny (sad sometimes) but never complaining. He, like you, didnt want anyone to know in the early days, including his mum who died recently (still unaware) at the age of 92 years. I told him about you running the marathon so I’m sure he will look you up and sponsor you..look out for his name..Brian Mackay – a Scott..don’t hold it against him! thank you for raising awareness.

  20. Hi Mark. Top effort, really and truly, I will get on shortly and donate. My family has been affected too. Me and my brothers are cycling this weekend from London to Manchester and have raised about £5.5k to date. We are having an MNDA fundraising party on our return this Sunday 5th May to bolster our fundraising. Our dad was our inspiration to do this. I would like to invite you along if your schedule permits. The event is at Monton Sports Club in Manchester from 1pm on Sunday, it would be great to see you there. Keep strong. Andy. (

  21. I was recommended to read your blog by Jayne Halhead … who I am sure you know. Your courage, determination and your sense of humour in the face of MND is so inspiring. Good luck in your campaign to raise awareness, and good luck to you personally … your spirit is stellar! From South Africa … wishing you every success, Val

  22. Just came across you on MNDA Facebook page and so glad I did. I was diagnosed in December 2012 and still really coming to terms with it; like you I also knew as I have had foot drop for two years this month. You are a true inspiration and you have made me laugh and cry with your blogs, I will continue to follow you. Carry on the good work Mark, keep fighting and I look forward to reading lots more.

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