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"The London Marathon was undoubtedly the toughest event I’ve ever taken on."

Jon's race gear and London Marathon medal #OnceASailorAlwaysASailor
Jon's race gear and London Marathon medal #OnceASailorAlwaysASailor

Wow, where to start?

Months of hard training finally culminated in a real mix of excitement, fun, emotion and challenge; the London Marathon was undoubtedly the toughest event I’ve ever taken on.

It’s marathon day plus one, and everything hurts. Legs, feet, back, shoulders - not much escaped and walking downstairs causes much hilarity!

Still smiling, despite the heat
Still smiling, despite the heat
Jon powering through
Jon powering through

The marathon itself didn’t quite go to plan. The start and first half went well, despite the record-breaking hot weather, but I twisted a knee at 12 miles trying to avoid some discarded water bottles and my pace was badly impacted.

The St John Ambulance chap very helpfully provided me with some paracetamol which helped, however, a run / walk strategy was required from about mile 15. The heat finally caught up with me at mile 21 with both calf muscles cramping up, after that it was just focus, focus, focus to get to the finish.

Support on the day was great, Temi Binitie and Roger Cornish (Sailors’ Society London Ambassadors) were out and about, plus my dad Steve, wife Linda and her friend Jo.

Jon post-race with his medal at the Institute of Directors on Pall Mall
Jon post-race with his medal at the Institute of Directors on Pall Mall

Running the show for Sailors’ Society, including picking up the pieces post-event were Bex Bridgen and Zak Dharsi; sterling work from this pair meant the whole day went extremely smoothly.

Fundraising went very well in the last week, and I’m on target to almost double the original goal. An enormous thank you is due to everyone that supported me with donations and encouragement; it truly makes it all worthwhile.

This money will make a real difference to seafarers, their families and communities around the world, examples being the children of the New Generation Club in Madagascar, or the students at St Nicholas School in Tema, Ghana. Both recent examples of where Sailors’ Society is making an impact in seafaring communities and caring for the next generation.

And back to the marathon...would I do it again? Right now I’d say not, once was probably enough and I’m not convinced I have the mental capacity to take on another one. That said, when the grimacing has subsided and the only memories are fond ones I’m sure I’ll be looking for something to do!

Jon Holloway is Managing Director at L&R Midland (UK) Ltd. He was an Engineer Cadet with BP Shipping, sailing with BP up to the rank of Chief Engineer. Jon came ashore in 2001 and has worked in various shipping roles for BP Shipping, INTERTANKO and BG Group before taking on his current position. He has been an Ambassador for Sailors’ Society since 2007 and became a Trustee of the Society in 2014. He ran London Marathon to fundraise on behalf of Sailors’ Society.