A Sheffield dad took on the London Marathon solo this year – but, unlike his fellow virtual runners, it wasn’t for the first time…

Fundraiser extraordinaire Nick Goodson was fired up and raring to go ahead of the world’s most popular marathon in 2019. But, with just days to go, the dad-of-two made an embarrassing discovery.

To his horror, he discovered he’d made a mistake in his entry and didn’t have actually have an official place. Rather than let all those who had sponsored him down, on the big day Nick took to the streets of Sheffield and ground out the miles solo.

So the 45-year-old was delighted to have bagged an official place running for Bluebell Wood this year, only to join tens of thousands of others in disappointment when the famous race was cancelled. Luckily for Nick, he was already used to pounding the pavements without the roar of the crowd to keep him going.

“It’s easy to say that’s there more important things in life – but when you’ve been fundraising for so long for such an incredible charity you couldn’t escape the feeling of disappointment when it was cancelled,” said Nick, who’s the Managing Director of Chapeltown construction company BDB Design Build Ltd.

“I know charities like Bluebell Wood rely on big fundraising events like the London Marathon so it was very welcome when they made to decision to go virtual.

“This time I picked my route a lot more carefully. Last year the route I took was pretty much all uphill for the last six or seven miles and I didn’t want to repeat that.

“I plotted my route around the Don Valley area and I must have come across 30 or 40 different runners in their Virtual London Marathon vests going in various directions, which gives you a nice boost.

“I also had my wife Caroline and my two children Amelie and Esme who cheered me on and have supported me all the way through.

“They were even on hand to throw sweets at me during the marathon, and had a very welcome meal from a popular fast food outlet waiting at the end.”

Nick’s now raised a phenomenal £20,000 for Bluebell Wood this time out, on top of the £14,000 he raised in his last solo outing. Almost £7,000 came from an anonymous donor, much to Nick’s amazement when he checked his total one evening.

“It was amazing – I was genuinely stunned,” added Nick.

“I have no idea whatsoever who it was but I’d really like them to reach out so I can thank them properly in person.”

Nick began training for this year’s marathon last October, but with just weeks to go until the virtual event, his participation hung in the balance once again.

“I injured my knee a few weeks ahead of the event so I wasn’t able to even train in the last few weeks,” said Nick.

“I’ve been resting it and I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d get the whole way around, but I didn’t want to let all those down who’d been kind enough to sponsor me.

“I got there in the end though and I’d like to thank everyone for their kindness and generosity. Now it’s time to start preparing for next year!”

Nick’s hoping it’ll be third time lucky after having his place in the London Marathon proper deferred until next year’s event, which is currently scheduled for October 2021.

Beth Cole, Events Fundraiser at Bluebell Wood, said: “Once again Nick has done an absolutely incredible job for us, and to do so while carrying an injury makes it all the more impressive.

“We’d like to say a huge thank you to Nick and all the other amazing runners who took on the Virtual London Marathon for us – we’re in awe of what you’ve all achieved."

“After a year in which the vast majority of our fundraising events have been cancelled or postponed, your support really does make a huge difference to the families in our care.”