Eastbourne runner’s 112-mile challenge along the seafront in memory of school friend

An Eastbourne man will try to complete a running challenge on the seafront next week in memory of his friend who died last summer.

Paul James, a 43-year-old father-of-two, was a train driver for Southeastern Railway and also worked as an associate ambulance practitioner based in Polegate.

Mr James suffered a fatal cardiac arrest while playing football last June.

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Richard Gardiner (pictured) will be attempting an epic ultra run along Eastbourne seafront on May 20 in memory of his schoolfriend Paul James. SUS-221105-103423001

Now approaching a year on, one of Mr James’ school friends is running along Eastbourne seafront to raise money for Willingdon-based Children With Cancer Fund.

With support from Mr James’ family and friends plus Run Wednesdays, Richard Gardiner will be running 32 lengths of the seafront, one length for every year he was friends with Mr James.

The challenge, which takes places on May 20, will total 112 miles and go between Southern Water Treatment Works and Holywell Cafe.

Mr Gardiner said, “I had met PJ whilst at senior school. He was fit and healthy so it was a shock to hear of his sudden death – we used to play football together for Eastbourne Fishermen’s club. PJ was a very good friend to me and many people – he will be sadly missed by all.”
In addition, members of Run Wednesdays will be taking part in the 10k run organised by The Children With Cancer Fund along the Cuckoo Trail on Saturday (May 14). 
Steve Offord, friend of Mr Gardiner and fellow Run Wednesdays member, said, “I first met Richard on a run with Run Wednesdays.

Richard Gardiner will be attempting an epic ultra run along Eastbourne seafront on May 20 in memory of his schoolfriend Paul James (pictured) SUS-221105-103434001

“He instantly made me welcome and we have been good friends since. He’s been an inspiration to myself and many other runners locally.

“Everyone could see how the sudden loss of his close friend affected him and it’s no surprise that he has decided to take on a physical and mental challenge to remember PJ.”
Mr Gardiner said, “I love the challenge of ultra running and what better way to raise money? The thought of doing this in memory of PJ has really spurred me on through the training.

“I’m looking forward to getting as many people involved by coming down and running a lap with me.”
If you would like to make a donation to Mr Gardiner for the Children with Cancer Fund, please go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/richard-gardiner06.

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