Former Mayor Paul Wells, who has also served on Arun District Council and as the chairman of the Bognor Regis BID, has announced he will be running next year’s London Marathon in a bid to raise money for the Sussex Snowdrop Trust.
An experienced runner with several other marathons under his belt, Mr Wells has been planning to run the marathon since 2019, but had to put his plans on hold after a knee injury and the cancellation of the 2020 London marathon due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I injured myself at the Arundel 10km in August 2019, which led to a knee operation in November,” he said.
“I managed to get myself back up and running by boxing day, but it was just little three mile jogs. And then, obviously, we got hit with Covid, so the London Marathon got cancelled.”
Mr Wells was not to be deterred however, and he’s due to finally run the race this October. Although most people would have given up in the face of a bad knee and a global pandemic, Mr Wells was determined to see the finish line, a fact he attributes to his increasing experience.
“I’ve been a runner now for the last eight years, I started back when I was mayor, actually. I did it as a challenge to get fit, and it was something I wanted to do during my year in office. And that led to doing the great south run, and I’ve done two Brighton marathons, as well as a few half marathons and a variety of other races.”
It’s a determination echoed in Mr Wells’ rigorous training schedule. Once he’d recovered from his knee surgery, he said, he was running as much as three times a week to get as fit as possible for next month’s 26.2 mile challenge.
“I was running through the lockdowns, and we’ve been training for the last three months for the Brighton Marathon. I completed a 20 miler last Sunday in preparation.”
Also keeping Mr Wells motivated was the thought of giving back to the Snowdrop Trust, a charity which, for him, does some of the most worthwhile work in the county.
“Snowdrop do some valuable work, they’re a local charity and I was keen to make sure I supported a local charity,” he said.
Di Levantine, co-founder of the Sussex Snowdrop Trust said the charity is ‘extremely proud’ of all the marathon runners performing under its name.
“Paul Wells is well known in the Bognor Regis area and we are delighted that he is supporting the trust,” she added.
“We have supported many families here who have required vital nursing care at home for their child who has a life threatening illness such as cancer or a brain tumour.
“The community of Bognor have always been generous in their support and we hope they will reach out again to help fund our Snowdrop Care at Home Team. We wish all who are running for worthy causes the best of luck at the London Marathon on October 3rd. It will be an unforgettable experience.”
Mr Wells is hoping to raise £2,5000 for the charity, a sum which will go towards supporting the families of children with life-threatening conditions. Click here to donate to his fundraiser, or go to Uk.virginmoneygiving.com and search for ‘Paul Wells’.